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Singapore Teens Offered Sex Education Over Their Mobile Phones

October 8, 2002

A Singaporean doctor known for his wireless ovulation alert services launched a new ten-day sex education campaign Tuesday offering free advice for teenagers via mobile phone text messaging. During the "Sex in the Air" campaign, teens can send text questions through their mobile phones, and doctors from Singapore, Amsterdam and Melbourne will respond within two days, said organizer Dr. Wei Siang Yu.

Text messaging -- a little-used feature of mobile phones in some countries like the United States -- is hugely popular in Singapore, which boasts the highest rate of mobile phone use in the world. Wei said he hopes Singapore teens will use the text messaging service to ask questions about sensitive or embarrassing topics such as safe sex, AIDS, pregnancy and masturbation. In May, Wei launched Megg Alert, whose monthly text messages remind subscribers they may be premenstrual or ovulating.

Pornography and homosexual acts are illegal in this conservative Southeast Asian city-state, and steamy scenes are frequently edited out of imported TV shows and films. However, according to the Singaporean group Action for AIDS, HIV is just as prevalent in Singapore -- a wealthy, highly modernized country of 4 million -- as in other developed nations, with more than 1,500 registered HIV cases at the end of last year.

"It's difficult for children to ask parents about sex," said Dr. Peter Lim, a urologist and member of the Singapore Planned Parenthood Association, one of three private organizations supporting "Sex in the Air." "The campaign provides answers by sex and fertility doctors while allowing teenagers to remain anonymous," he said. The other groups supporting the campaign are Action for AIDS and Singapore Youth Challenge.

Back to other CDC news for October 8, 2002

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Associated Press
10.08.02; Gillian Wee

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
More on HIV Prevention Multimedia for Young People


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