In NST’s front page – Shocking!
High degree of sexual promiscuity and ignorance on campus
18 Aug 2006
KUALA LUMPUR: They either have no fear or are ignorant. Either way, Malaysia’s best and brightest are flirting with AIDS and death every day, suggests a survey of private colleges and public universities.
One in two young adults are having sex. Unnerving? Try this. Eighty per cent of them do not use contraceptives.
Latest figures show that sexually-active university and college students, between the ages of 18 and 25, do not even think about condoms when they hop into the sack.
Physical pleasure seems to outweigh the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STD), said researcher Mazlin Mohamad Mokhtar of Universiti Teknologi Mara.
“You would expect this kind of feedback from the general population. Certainly not among university and college students who are supposed to be better educated,” she said.
Mazlin, a UiTM lecturer, conducted the study on sexual and reproductive health, knowledge, attitude and behaviour among students in two private colleges and two public universities.
The institutions cannot be named.
While the study showed that only 11.3 per cent admitted to having premarital sex, 55 per cent said their friends were sexually active.
“According to the World Health Organisation, when a young adult says his or her friend is having premarital sex, they are talking about themselves as well,” Mazlin said, adding that of this figure, half had more than one partner.
Respondents were asked 16 questions, of which only 7.8 per cent got 13 to 16 questions correct.
“The majority got between eight and 12 answers correct. That is not good because it leans towards a low level of understanding,” Mazlin said.
The study, done on behalf of the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom and completed in July last year, polled 727 respondents.
These are some of the findings.
• One-third (34 per cent) thought condoms cannot help prevent the spread of HIV
• One-fourth said a person could be infected with HIV through a bite from a mosquito, flea or bed bug
• Sixty per cent thought that a man would be able to tell when a woman has STD
• More than half (53 per cent) said a person with STD would show symptoms.
Mazlin said many respondents had a basic knowledge about sexual and reproductive health but “this did not translate into the right behaviour”.
Although 65 per cent said they did not think it was okay for unmarried couples to have sex, it did not tally with the number of those admitting they or their friends engaged in premarital sex.
A specialist in charge of the genito-urinary medicine clinic at the Institute of Respiratory Medicine, Dr Akbal Kaur, said she had seen patients as young as 14 suffering from STD as a result of unprotected sex.
“Gonorrhoea seems to be the commonest among young adults. One of the reasons is because they have multiple partners,” she said.
Dr Akbal sees about 20 patients a day and five to 10 of them are young adults.
Most had never heard of genital warts, syphilis, gonorrhoea or chlamydia — all different types of STD.
Some did not know that sex led to having babies, she added.
“I once asked a young patient: ‘You know you are menstruating right?’, and she nodded.
Then I asked her: ‘Do you know that because you are menstruating every month, when you have sex, you can get pregnant?’ She gave me a blank look.”
She has come across patients who, after being treated for STD, come back with the same or a different problem because after the first experience, only a small number is moved to use contraceptives.
This cannot be comforting news for a country where 19 people are diagnosed as HIV-positive every day.
Dr Akbal said if present trends of sexual behaviour continue, there would be a spike in the number of reported HIV cases.
Commenting on the findings, Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman, of the Malaysian AIDS Council, said: “These are shocking but not altogether surprising findings. I am sure it is not what everyone would like to believe but unfortunately that is the reality of life today.”
C?! This is why children, students, youths, parents, teachers, frens, peers, EVERY1 should know about sex – how to protect urself & others, the diseases tat can b infected, sexual abuse, how to deal with unwanted/wanted sex!
Being ignorant can cost lives!