SINGAPORE (dpa) - Four teenagers have abortions in Singapore every day and more than 600 teens get sexually transmitted diseases each year, published surveys said on Saturday.
The latest government data in The Straits Times showed an average of 1,500 teenagers having abortions annually in each of the last five years and 840 having babies each year.
The results of three separate surveys indicate as many as one in five teenagers could be sexually active in the conservative city-state. In 2002,238 youngsters aged 10 to 19 were infected with STDs.
Many parents and teachers in Singapore treat their charges as sexual innocents, and sex education programmes in schools promote abstinence without mentioning condoms.
Pro-contraception advocates maintain an over-emphasis on abstinence is unrealistic when media and the Internet are feeding teens portrayals of sexual encounters as the norm.
They question the effectiveness of the current abstinence approach, which does not deal with protection from disease or unwanted pregnancy.
A survey by Action For AIDS (AFA) found one in four of 500 at-risk and out-of-school youths between 15 and 21 had sex. Of these, 80 per cent had done so "at short notice", and 60 per cent said they never used condoms.
Muslim Malays in predominantly Chinese Singapore form a disproportionately large group among the teens who become pregnant or have abortions, the data showed.
Last year, 417 Malays aged 19 and younger gave birth, nearly 53 per cent of all teen births.Malay teens are also over-represented in the abortion statistics, accounting for a third compared to 21 per cent in 2000.
The ironic part about this? The government will likely react with a stricter clampdown on sexual education and outreach to youth.
Though perceived more of a social issue than political(the focus of this blog), it is important in that it shows the failure of the education system in educating our youth about sex and sexuality. The MOE, I've found, tends to over-protect its youth, to their detriment. Our teenage "hookers" show that all too well.
technorati tags: sex education,