South Korea: 60 Percent of Teens Engage in Unprotected Sex

A 2008 survey of 75,238 South Korean adolescents found 5.1 percent reported they had had sexual intercourse. And of them, just 41 percent used a contraceptive, Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Monday.

Sexual activity was reported by 6.9 percent of males and 3 percent of females. An STD diagnosis was reported by 11.1 percent of sexually active youths, including 12.1 percent of males and 8.4 percent of females.

Of sexually active females, 9.7 percent said they had gotten pregnant, an increase from 9.3 percent in 2007. Of those who became pregnant, 88.3 percent chose to have an abortion.

In another 2008 survey of 2,145 secondary school students in South Korea, 95 percent said their schools offered sex education. However, less than 5 percent said any discussions were of a practical nature, and 68 percent reported the lessons mainly involved watching videos.

"The problem is attributable to our culture, which puts a taboo on the discussion of specific or practical measures at home and school," Lee Won-hee, a director at the Ministry of Health and Welfare, said during a parliamentary forum.

"Teenage pregnancy has emerged as a major social issue due to the lack of awareness and proper education about the matter, coupled with the public’s tendency to avoid talking about the matter," said Rep. Lee Yoon-sung of the governing Grand National Party.