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December 25, 2012

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Home » Metro » Education

Survey warns earlier sex, pregnancy of students

THE average age for local young women to lose their virginity has dropped from 19.5 years old in 2007 to 18.6 years old now, according to the city's hotline for women with unexpected pregnancies.

The data is based on a hotline study of young callers, most of whom are students.

Local and national data also show that many students are risking unexpected pregnancy and they are making up a big proportion of women seeking abortion, officials said.

Since its launch seven years ago, the local hotline 65876866 has received more than 50,000 phone calls and offered help to 4,400 pregnant students, said officials from the Shanghai No. 411 Hospital of the People's Liberation Army, which operates the hotline. Callers can obtain such services as psychological counseling, abortion services and assistance in cases of rape.

About 29 percent of the female students said they lost their virginity at motels, love hotels and daily-rental apartments near their campuses. About 31 percent of the students having sex for the first time in such venues said they didn't take measures like using a condom, according to the hotline studies.

Daily-rental apartments first appeared as a cheap accommodations for university students looking for a job or preparing for the national entrance exam for postgraduate studies. Now, however, they are mostly rented by students couples.

"The popularity of such daily-rental apartments is a reflection of the rising prevalence of premarital sex among college students," said Yu Dongyan, who is in charge of the hotline service.

Half of the abortion-seekers coming to Yu's hospital are unmarried women, and female students account for about 30 percent of the unmarried women.

A recent survey of more than 80,000 university students in seven cities including Beijing, Chongqing and Chengdu found 14.4 percent of them have had sex. Among these, over 25 percent of female students said they have had an unexpected pregnancy.

"One student has had six abortions in her first two years in college and called the hotline for help," said Dr Cheng Xiaomei, a consultant with the local hotline. "When we told her she may never be able to get pregnant and have her baby due to frequent abortions, she cried."

Doctors said sex education in school is necessary but inadequate, especially a higher grade levels, and young women need to be told of the risk of having an unexpected pregnancy and the complications of abortion.

"Students, especially female students, aren't getting proper reproductive and self-protection knowledge from their parents and schools," said Zhu Weijie, an official of the hospital, which has started to offer regular lectures on campuses.


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