Young people in Vietnam are becoming increasingly sexually liberated, as experts raise concerns for the sexual health of their youth.
Referred to as Vietnam’s ‘Sexual Revolution’, views on tradition, marriage and sexuality are being rejected by younger generations.
Research from the Ministry of Education and Training found that half of Vietnamese minors admitted to being sexually active.
Nguyen Thi Nhu Tuyet, vice-director of the Da Nang Women’s Hospital says that sexual health education is a growing issue in Vietnam as teachers and parents are reluctant to discuss it with teenagers.
“Teenagers, especially girls, have little knowledge about sexual health issues. Many young people are having sex before marriage these days, but they are still unaware of the risks of sexually transmitted diseases and unsafe sex practices” she said.
The Internet has allowed Vietnamese youth to interact and connect without previous traditional family control over their relationships.
Nguyen says that Western ideologies and economic development have played a significant role in the sexualisation of Vietnamese youth.
“As a result of increased sexual activity there is a growing need for sexual health education programs for young people, “ she said.
“We have a lot of girls who come to the hospital asking about genealogical issues, due to the higher rates of sexual activity in young people. We are planning to do education programs due to the high demand, but more needs to be done.”
“The government has a policy to provide condoms to married couples, in order to control the birth rate. But there is no program addressing sexual health issues for the young, unmarried population.”
Ngo Thi Kim Cuc, doctor and researcher at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, works in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases in Vietnam’s population.
“The number of STI transmissions due to sexual contact is increasing because many people don’t know how diseases are transmitted, and in many cases they do not use safe sex measures,” she said.
Public acknowledgement of sexual health issues is difficult to find, due to the traditional cultural views on sex and marriage.
Researchers and health professionals hope that the sexual health services can keep up with the with the increased sexual activity in younger generations.