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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
SINGAPORE: Singapore Youth Counselors Call for Sex Education to Start Earlier

January 12, 2012
Xinhua News Agency (01.10.12) - Thursday, January 12, 2012

A court case involving underage sex has advocates calling for improvements in sex education in Singapore. According to a report in the local daily Strait Times, the 15-year-old-girl in the case was told by her boyfriend that his menthol cigarettes would kill his sperm.

Currently, the Education Ministry's sex education program is taught by approved vendors to students beginning in upper- primary school through to junior college and centralized institutes. The curriculum examines sex in the context of a heterosexual married couple and promotes abstinence as the best option for teens. In addition, it teaches teens how to say no to sex and provides them with information on STD risks.

But the court case shows that younger teens also need instruction, since some children now start puberty earlier, some counselors say. The parents of primary school-age children need to be taught how to talk to their kids about sex in an age-appropriate fashion, said Rachel Lee, who runs a family service center that offers sex education instruction in several schools.

"When dating couples get more intimate, some guys will come up with all sorts of explanations for not having to worry about pregnancy after sex," said Lee.

"The programs need to include more real-life scenarios and case studies, so teens can relate to these and apply them to the situations they are in," said psychologist Daniel Koh of Insights Mind Center.

Last September, a Bayer HealthCare survey showed nearly one- third of Singaporeans were misinformed about contraception. Some of the women polled reported that rinsing their genitals with Coca-Cola or positioning themselves upside-down after sex could prevent pregnancy.