In-depth
Sexual curiosity fails to improve reproductive health
  • | VietNamNet, dtinews.vn | July 12, 2011 06:08 PM

Vietnam may have topped Google’s recent polls as the country with the highest number of searches globally for ‘sex’ as a key word, but access to information hasn’t improved the country’s reproductive health statistics, with abortions continuing to rise.

Vietnam tops Google searches for \'sex\' keyword

The question seems to remain whether Vietnamese are searching for information about sex to improve their knowledge, or whether it’s to boost their between-the-sheets techniques. For despite topping the poll in terms of interest, the country has one of the world’s highest abortion rates.

Low awareness

According to Doctor Le Thi Kim Dung, this contradiction demonstrates the reality of the low awareness among Vietnamese people in regards to sexual health.

Dung said that despite having access to huge amounts of information, Vietnamese have yet to engage in an open discussion about the topics of sexual health and reproduction.

She elaborated, “I’ve met a 23-year-old girl who has had four abortions a year. She’s aware that abortion may cause infertility, but doesn’t think it’ll happen to her.”

The majority of abortions are among women below the age of 25 with some women having four or five abortions before marriage, she noted.

Dung runs a consultation with 40% of her clients seeking pre-marital abortions.

MA Nguyen Xuan Hoi, a doctor at the Central Obstetrics Hospital, said, “Many young people have active sexual relationships but remain quite passive in terms of contraception. Many girls don’t realise that they’re pregnant until the embryo is some months old.”

Alarm bells

Vietnam is concerned about the rising rate of abortions, especially among juveniles. One of its negative effects could be increased infertility. Despite widespread discussion in the media, it seems that little has changed.

Morality doesn’t work in the fight against rising abortion rates

Doctor Dung said, “In terms of sex, common sense doesn’t seem to work. In order to change people’s behaviour, first priority should be given to changing their attitudes and improving awareness on sexual and reproductive healthcare.”

She explained that responsible people may be afraid of an abortion but keep the child and instead send it to an orphanage. However, many women rather opt for an abortion.

Calling on people to change their behaviour based on moralistic stories about abortions and ill-fated babies who have yet to have a chance to be born may not effective, Dung shared.

“We must admit that sex is a normal human activity, and is as common as survival, eating, drinking, and entertainment. So that people aren’t likely to stop having sexual relations even if they’ve had abortion once and have been obsessed by it,” she said.

Education

In order to reduce the number of abortions, efforts should be made to provide people with a fuller understanding about effective contraceptive methods, Dung emphasised.

Sex and reproductive healthcare should be added to education programmes at schools to improve the youth awareness of the issue.

Practical methods including the provision of contraception are expected to help people have safe sex, she added.

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