Nearly 90 percent of young couples surveyed in Tokyo say they are dissatisfied with the sex education they receive at school and elsewhere, and feel adults should not hesitate to teach them how to avoid contracting sexually transmitted diseases, according to a health ministry study.

The survey, made available Sunday to Kyodo News, shows 87.2 percent of the respondents become impatient with adults who are embarrassed to talk about sex, while 62.6 percent said they think it is ridiculous that adults believe junior high and high school students do not have sex.

It also showed 77.1 percent of female respondents, all in their teens, have had sex.

A study group at the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry surveyed about 300 couples in January and February in the Shibuya and Ikebukuro districts, both in central Tokyo. The group selected couples in which the woman was in her teens.

A total of 602 people responded, with male respondents ranging in age from 13 to 27 and female respondents from 13 to 17.

The survey found 88.9 percent of the respondents want adults to teach them about the dangers of sex, while 74.4 percent do not want adults to approach issues involving sex in a humorous or lighthearted manner.

More than 70 percent want to have a list of people or hospitals they can contact for help or advice when they have sexual problems.

Masako Kihara, a member of the ministry study group and an assistant at Hiroshima University’s medical department, said adults must play a greater role in sex education as youth are seeking relevant information about sex and sexuality.

The study group conducted the survey to gauge youth awareness levels about the rise in HIV infection rates over the past few years. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

The ministry has expressed concern that the virus is being spread through unprotected sex among teenagers. In addition to attacking the human immune system, HIV can also lead to infertility in women.

“Young people nowadays are having sex earlier and more often, whether they live in urban areas or rural areas, but adults have failed to understand that reality,”

“Schools must teach children how to use condoms, as condoms are the only effective way to prevent sexual transmission of HIV,” said Yoshiaki Kumamoto, a professor emeritus at Sapporo Medical University in Hokkaido.

The sentiment is echoed by Tsuneo Akaeda, a Tokyo doctor who provides free health consultations to women.

“Judging from my experience, almost no young people use condoms when they have sex,” Akaeda said.

Children should receive sex education from elementary school onward, he said.

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