There are still many gaps in the way sex education is promoted in China, and experts, foreign and domestic, are of the view that it has to be more intensive and inclusive if issues like personal health and bringing down the incidences of HIV are to be improved upon.
UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot and Ma Yinghua, a senior councillor with 11 years' experience in health and AIDS education for students, have both said that there is a requirement for "strong leadership" in this issue.
A professor with the Institute of Child and Adolescent Health, Peking University, Yinghua told chinadaily.com.cn that both teachers and parents need to inform their wards and children about sex.
Ma claimed that in China, there's actually no sex education class in schools, and lamented that parents are more focussed on the study of ther subjects.
In 2001, new guidelines for the school curriculum were set, incorporating the health education class with physical education, diluting the importance of the topic.
Education about sex in China doesn't start until Grade 5 in primary schools. And from 2003, the Ministry of Education added lessons on drugs and AIDS.
In the country's rural areas, health and sex education is almost non-existent, Ma said.
Ma says that the government has been sponsoring her to train teachers to instruct students about health education, and when she first started doing this in 1996, most teacher trainees didn't even know what AIDS was.
Now, a decade later, the teachers are more knowledgeable about the subject.
The general public connects sex education mostly with how to use condoms, but not the attitude towards sex behavior and the responsibility having sex.
Few young people share their problems around sex with their parents because they might not know the correct knowledge and the ways to talk about it.
According to a survey by a first-aid hotline for pregnant teens in Shanghai, about 7.9 percent of the parents queried talked to their children about sex.
The 2003 China's education guidelines stipulate six class hours in junior high and four hours in senior high schools for AIDS education.
But Ma doesn't think this is enough. "We need more sex educators other than those at school," she said.
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