Few visitors, so China's sex clinic shuts

Last Updated: Sat, Dec 25, 2010 11:10 hrs

Shanghai, Dec 25 (IANS) A health clinic in China providing free advice on sex-related problems to youngsters was closed after five years as it failed to attract enough visitors.

The clinic, which operated under the Shanghai International Peace Maternal and Child Health Hospital, was set up to provide free sex advice and condoms to people aged 15-24.

But youngsters said it was embarrassing to consult strangers even though they needed information on sex. They said they would turn to the internet for help, China Daily reported Saturday.

'The number of visitors was far below our expectations,' Cen Shuyuan, an official at Shanghai Institute of Family Planning Technical Instruction was quoted as saying.

'On average, we received two or three calls each day. Only tens of teenagers, most of whom are about 18, have come to the hospital for advice over the past five years, though we arranged to open after school hours to make it easier for students,' he said.

Zhou Bingqin, a 20-year-old university student, said: 'If I have any sex problems, I definitely would not go to clinics for help, as it's embarrassing and unnecessary to talk about sex with strangers face to face.'

'I think searching the internet is much better, as it's convenient, informative and most importantly, private,' she added.

According to a survey conducted by Shanghai Academy of Educational Sciences, 32.4 percent of vocational high school students have had sex and 46.3 percent have never received any sex education.

Statistics showed that in the past five years, more than 3,500 young girls have had abortions in Shanghai.

'We Chinese tend to feel uneasy talking about sex because of our cultural background. So it's understandable that young people are not willing to go to the clinic for help,' said Huang Hongji, director of Shanghai Youth Research Center.