Teenagers get sex education from Internet, not parents
Wed, Dec 09, 2009
The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network
Amid the high spread of HIV and AIDS through sexual contact in Indonesia, youths are still finding it hard to discuss sexuality and safe sex with their parents due to the taboo surrounding the topic.
"I'm embarrassed. They also never try to talk to me about it," said Galuh Mamasari, 22.
She was attending the MTV Staying Alive 2009 concert on Dec. 6, organized by Global TV and condom producer DKT International, to commemorate World AIDS Day.
She said she gets sex information from events like the concert and the Internet.
Nandang R., also 22, said parents should be more open about talking about sexuality and safe sex to their children.
"Parents should be the closest to their children and therefore their source of information," he said.
As the country with the biggest Muslim population in the world, the people hold a conservative view on sex, in which it should only be consummated by people with their lawful partners. In practice however, pre- and extramarital sex in Indonesia are present within society.
DKT International Indonesia Program Manager Pierre Frederick Newmaster said a study showed in Indonesia the average age teenagers became sexually active was 17.
"This means, teenagers need to receive information on sex education before they reach that age.
"The right people to deliver the message are parents. But, this is Indonesia with a strong Asian culture. Not all parents are ready to convey the information."
Pierre said sexual education for teenagers was important.
"If we don't provide the right information for them, they would find the information from the Internet, from friends, and even from blue movies. We can't turn a blind eye, they are available."
"We're not suggesting they should have sex. But they need more information concerning HIV and AIDS prevention and condom use, so they can be responsible."
The World Health Organization (WHO) said condoms were the only contraceptive method proven to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.
They can be used as a dual-purpose method, both for preventing pregnancy and protection against STIs. The WHO also said laboratory studies have found that viruses do not pass through intact latex condoms even when devices are stretched or stressed.
According to data from the National AIDS Commission (KPA), sex was the primary cause of infection with 48.4 percent of Indonesian HIV/AIDS sufferers contracting the virus through heterosexual relations, 42 percent from intravenous drug usage and 3.7 percent from same-sex relations. Official records mentioned there were at least 290,000 with HIV and more than 18,000 have AIDS.
Pierre said the music event was a way to increase HIV/AIDS awareness.
"Music is a language that can be accepted by all walks of life," he said, adding he expected more than 150,000 to attend.
Between band performances, MTV VJs addressed the crowd and delivered safe sex messages.
For Rp 10,000 (S$1.48) visitors could watch more than a dozen artists perform. The proceeds will be donated to charity foundations with HIV and AIDS programs.