The number of youngsters with sexually transmitted infections (STI*) have tripled over the past 5 years, with young people between 10 and 29 years of age accounting for 13% of new HIV cases. If you ask me, I think this is very alarming. What puzzles me most is how someone as young as 10 years old is able to understand what sex is all about, let alone doing it.

Is it so innate in us that a 10 year old would know what to do sexually? I don’t know. Perhaps I came from a rather conservative family and hence everything is pretty much hush-hush. Do I think I needed sex education when I was 10 or 12? Perhaps. Do I think I’d benefit from it? I’m not sure.

Given the recent push for sex education in schools in Singapore, I am quite surprised at this figure. I would presume that being more educated and informed, more youngsters should make better decisions. Well, perhaps they did make better decisions when in the act – jolly well knowing the consequences. I guess knowing what’s good for you and really doing what’s good for you are 2 different issues. At the end of the day, schools and parents can only do that much.

Of course, one can’t help but wonder if any form of sex education could actually accelerate the curiosity that’s already present in most youngsters. I mean, most probably know what AIDS, HIV and STDs are; but do they actual believe that they are as vulnerable as the guy next to them?

This reminded me of an ad (of a true confession?) that I saw in school last week: My boyfriend does not like to use a condom because he does not like the feeling of it. So, we did it once without it, except that I didn’t tell him that I have herpes.

It’s quite sad to see these kind of confessions sometimes; but in this world where people crave for love and attention and fear loss of (supposed) loved ones, it’d be quite hard for some to be honest about themselves. Now, I just wonder how many of those who were infected with HIV would be brave enough to confess – without fearing social stigma. I doubt many will, and sad to say, this has lead to legislatives coming into the picture.

Perhaps abstinence is really the best prevention.

The number of youngsters with sexually transmitted infections (STI) has almost tripled in the last five years.

And in the first half of 2007, young people between 10 and 29 years of age accounted for 13 per cent of new HIV cases.

These were among a series of statistics Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Balaji Sadasivan rattled off at the ‘Love them. Talk about sex’ workshop on Saturday.

In the first nine months of this year, 657 teens aged between 10 and 19 sought help for STIs, three times the number of cases in 2002.

This was a cause for concern, he noted.

‘Parents need to reach out to educate and protect their youths,’ he said. ‘If children have knowledge of sex but no values or values without knowledge, there’ll be trouble.’

He quoted more figures from various other surveys for his concern:

  • 22 per cent felt that pre-marital sex is acceptable
  • 15 per cent said that they were likely to have sex upon reaching 18 years old
  • 43 per cent of adolescent boys and 23 per cent of girls had sex within a month of knowing their romantic partners
  • 17 per cent of boys said that they had sex with their partners on the first day they met.

    Digesting these findings were 200 parents at the launch of the ‘Love them. Talk about sex’ programme which aims to equip them with skills to educate their children on sexuality issues through a series of interactive talks and workshops.

    The session was organised by the Health Promotion Board and the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports.

  • Article obtained from on 9th December 2007

    * STI is different from STD in that STIs are infections and may not necessarily be a disease.

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