China’s infamously abysmal sex education system is making headlines yet again thanks to another series of troubling surveys about contraceptive use on college campus.
One survey polled 18,000 college students with an average age of just over 20. As you might expect, there were some worrying results. 10% of female university students admitted to getting pregnant at least once, while 3.2% admitted to having multiple pregnancies.
China’s Family Planning Association released a report on the survey yesterday to coincide with World Contraception Day. Speaking of contraception, over 60% of sexually active students said that they had used condoms during their last sexual experience. Unfortunately, 83.2% of students also responded that condoms were their preferred method of contraception.
It’s not clear what accounts for that 20% gap, but China is notorious for low birth control use and a sky-high abortion rate. 16.4% of students revealed that they never took any contraceptive measures before having sex.
Intriguingly, 28% of male students said that they had had a sexual experience before, while only 15% of females said they had. Of course, this would be a good time to point out that we have concluded in the past that Chinese young people are liars when it comes to sex.
And, truthfully, these aren’t nearly the most distressing sex education survey results we’ve seen. For instance, China Daily references another recent survey of over 12,000 students at Xi’an Jiaotong University which found that more than 31% of students had had premartial sex, while 21.8% didn’t know how to use a condom correctly, and only 30% even knew the difference between contraceptive pills and emergency contraception. 20% of students even said that abortion was type of contraception method.
It is estimated that over 13 million abortions are conducted in China every year — a rate of roughly 1 in 100 people, well above global averages. Obviously, if Chinese officials ever want this two-child policy to work out, awful sex education isn’t enough, they are also going to need to limit abortion, perhaps by asking cadres to serve as an example.
Meanwhile, in other troubling college student survey news, one-third of Chinese university students said they had encountered sexual violence or harassment, and universities are also being called “ground zero” for China’s new AIDS problem.
In response to this second issue, Wu Zunyou, the Director of the STD and AIDS Prevention Center at China’s CDC, said that 82% of students with HIV/AIDS got it through homosexual intercourse. Here’s how Wu explained this phenomena, according to People’s Daily:
Wu believes that many male students feel liberated from the intense pressures of high school and are intrigued by the novelty of homosexuality. They would like to “try it,” but do not understand the risks involved.
…Wu has called for improved sex education in schools.