Sexual and Reproductive Health of Peking University College Students: An Examination of Sexual and Reproductive Health Education, Beliefs, and Practices

Karen Hong

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Abstract: Understanding the education, beliefs, and practices of Peking University students could potentially help with designing pertinent and effective sexual and reproductive health (SRH) curricula, educating the public about sexual minorities, and removing barriers to accessing SRH services. After a review of The Chinese Journal of Human Sexuality, it was evident that college students’ sources of SRH knowledge, beliefs, and practices were not thoroughly examined within the last year in SRH research. The present study is the first to examine SRH educational resources and preferences of Peking University students, the benefits of Peking University courses on SRH, Peking University student perceptions about sexual minorities, and their barriers to accessing SRH services. A survey was given to 176 Peking University students on SRH, and Excel graphs were compiled to assess their responses. The survey suggested that there are better methods for disseminating information, weak SRH knowledge, little acceptance of sexual minorities, and few attempts to access SRH services. One of the most significant findings included the inaccurate perception of HIV transmission. Eighty-three percent of participants could not answer a particular question about HIV transmission correctly (Graph 10). Also, there was a largely negative perception of HIV-positive people. An overwhelming majority, 71 percent, of participants reported that if they discovered their friend was HIV-positive, it would have a slightly or extremely negative impact on their friendship (Graph 20). These results lend support to the idea that more SRH education is needed to create a more tolerant and informed population of Peking University students.

Introduction: The biggest influence for the questions in this survey was The Chinese Journal of Human Sexuality (February 2009-January 2010), one of the few reputable journals in China on sexual and reproductive health (SRH). Many of the questions asked in the survey were related to topics covered in the journal or important questions that were not addressed in the literature.

In 2009, there was scarce information identifying sexual and reproductive health (SRH) issues in China (Xu & Zhao, 2009, p. 7). One of the most alarming factors was the lack of SRH education for youth (Xu, H., 2009, p. 27). This indicated that low priority was given to an extremely important field of public health. An uneducated public implies that sexual health will remain a taboo topic within the Chinese community, preventing open dialogue about relevant issues, such as the spread of HIV, the expanding the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, and the largely undocumented rates of sexual and domestic violence against women.

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