BEIJING, July 2 (Xinhua) — “What are the essential conditions for pregnancy?” “What is safe sex?” “If you or your partner fell pregnant, what would you do?”
In a rural middle school in Yingjiang County, southwest China’s Yunnan Province, teacher Nie Yongxian is giving a ninth grade class a sex-ed lesson.
The students are not shy and offered straightforward answers.
This class — “Youth Love Cabin,” is sponsored by the AIDS Prevention Education Project for Chinese Youth (APEPCY), a non-profit organization established by China Charities Aid Foundation for Children and the Chinese Society of Education, to promote sex education in Chinese schools to help prevent HIV/AIDS transmission among the youths.
While the number of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) on the Chinese mainland continues to rise and there is a trend for younger transmissions, there is still no official sex education in schools to teach students to protect themselves.
Established in 2006, APEPCY has sponsored 681 AIDS prevention cabins or “Youth Love Cabin” nationwide, exploring a new way to teach AIDS prevention and sex education.
In Yingjiang, the China-Myanmar border which is close to the opium-producing “Golden Triangle,” the local government has collaborated with APEPCY as the region has a severe drug and HIV/AIDS epidemic.
In 2012, APEPCY piloted six cabins in Yingjiang County, and by October 2014, the project was in nearly all of the county’s 200 elementary and middle schools.
“By the end of 2016, we plan to form a full and systematic program, which unites the government and NGO forces,” said Zhang Liming, deputy director of the county’s education bureau.
Nie Yongxian, a teacher, said she did not know how or what to teach in the beginning.
“For our students, information on HIV/AIDS is what they needed most, ” Nie said, “and the dangers of drugs.”
Many people in the region are drug users, Nie sai. “Children have seen people taking drugs and may even been tempted themselves — they do not know whether it’s good or bad.”
“Therefore, telling them the dangers of drugs is also very important.”
For sex education, Nie said she conducted a survey to see what the students wanted to learn, and she answered their questions in class. But later when she underwent training, she learned that sex education should be taught systematically.
“Now, we teach physical hygiene in seventh grade, and expanded to sex education in the eighth grade,” Nie said. “I don’t think we should teach about pregnancy and contraception any time later.”
The third middle school of Yingjiang is the county’s biggest rural middle school.
Student Mo Guifang, 15, thinks the Youth Love Cabin is interesting as it taught her about puberty and birth control.
The classes have the support of parents, said principal Li Kaiji.
“As many parents are our students’ students,” she said, “it meant HIV/AIDS and drug knowledge went beyond the classroom.
Chen Zhongdan, UNAIDS strategic information adviser, supports the APEPCY project.
“We will consider cooperating with APEPCY to introduce the program to the rest of the country, and even the world,” he said.
Besides sponsoring Youth Love Cabins, APEPCY has also built up 11 Youth Love Bases in the country over the last decade, which offer training and liaison opportunities
The first was at Chengdu University, Sichuan Province, in 2009.
Gou Ping, director of the Sichuan Base and a psychology professor at Chengdu Normal University, said the base not only trained teachers but has supported teaching and research teams to promote sex education in schools.
In 2014, 20 sex education minor students from the university went to Yingjiang to teach classes. The course has recruited six grades of students and trained over 200 professional sex education teachers.
“We found that the sex education bias is huge,” said Gou, “Therefore, we are thankful that APEPCY gave us a reason to research sex education through the entry point of HIV/AIDS prevention.”
Wang Zuoshu, vice chairman of the Education, Science, Culture and Public Health Committee of the National People’s Congress, said sex education will benefit future generations.
He believes there are challenges ahead, such as constraints due to Chinese culture, as well as lack of funds, teachers and text books.
But president Zhang Yinjun has a clear vision. She said APEPCY will be more focused, innovative and mobilize more domestic and international forces in the future, to combine the experiences it has accumulated in ten years to better serve schools and institutions who wish to carry out HIV/AIDS prevention and sex education.
“APEPCY need more domestic and international support to communicate our ideas, letting more people join the HIV/AIDS prevention drive to ultimately realize the global zero AIDS goal,” she said.
Source : Shanghaidaily
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