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Op-Ed: Providing free contraceptives to college students a necessary move

By Yao Xinyu (People's Daily Online)    13:50, November 18, 2015
Op-Ed: Providing free contraceptives to college students a necessary move
(Xinhua/Wei Peiquan)

128 colleges and universities in Zhejiang will install contraceptives vending machines so as to provide college students with free condoms and contraceptives within a year, the Zhejiang Provincial Health and Family Planning Committee had announced lately. And actually a contraceptives vending machine had already been installed on the campus of Zhejiang University several months ago.

From something of a taboo, to gently discussed, and now distributed for free, contraceptives for college students have clearly undergone a revolution in China.

However, controversy over free contraceptives on campus has also emerged: isn’t it a way of acquiescence, encouragement, even indulging college students’ sexual behavior? 

Advocating premarital sex to college students is definitely not the right way to go about things, but the fact that college students nowadays are open to premarital sex yet still have little knowledge on sexual and reproductive health has led to serious consequences.

According to the statistics shown by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Zhejiang, from January to October in 2014, 3,327 HIV cases were reported, among which 104 were young college students, with the growth of infections in this group much higher than the total growth rate. Moreover, 56.1 percent of HIV infections are contracted through heterosexual sex and 40.4 percent are from male homosexual transmission. Most male college students in China still know very little about homosexual transmission, not to mention precaution and protections.

Completely prohibiting college students’ sexual activity is obviously unrealistic, but taking educational and guided measures to help students raise their awareness of risks and knowledge of protection would be a wiser way to tackle the issue. Providing free contraceptives on campus is a step in the right direction given the current situation, it is a way of protecting college students’ physical and mental health, as well as a promotion of safer sexual activity. 

This Op-Ed is edited and translated from 《为大学生免费提供避孕药具很有必要》, published on China Youth Daily, the author is Luo Jianhua.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Yao Xinyu,Bianji)

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