Safe sex education should go beyond abstinence

I agree with Ms Ho Lay Ping that to reduce the sexually transmitted infection rates, we should advocate for abstinence and for sexual activities to only be between married couples (Teach our young to say 'no' to premarital sex; June 22).

However, although this stance is already being taught in our schools' sex education, young people are still experimenting with sex at an early age, and sexually transmitted infection rates are increasing.

It is important that our sex education in school go beyond abstinence.

It is recommended that students are also taught the importance of using condoms in sex to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies.

We should also inform them of the various tests that are available to sustain their sexual health and well-being.

By doing this, young people are more empowered and informed of the choices that they can make pertaining to relationships as well as their sexual health.

They need to know that, should they engage in high-risk sexual activity, there are avenues to seek advice and help, and get tested.

This way, not only will the young people have a healthy family life, but they will also have good sexual well-being while exploring their sexual needs and preferences.

By making informed sexual health choices, young people will be able to make better decisions in family planning as well.

Thu Yain Pye Aung

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2017, with the headline 'Safe sex education should go beyond abstinence'. Print Edition | Subscribe