News / Asia

    Online Tool Teaches Indonesians Sex Education

    A screen grab of zoyaamirin.com, a site for sex education in Indonesia.
    A screen grab of zoyaamirin.com, a site for sex education in Indonesia.

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Kate Lamb

    Although young Indonesians might be familiar with the latest fashions, movies and electronic gadgets, when it comes to basic knowledge about their bodies, they are not as savvy.

    Indonesia has one of the fastest growing rates of HIV transmission in Asia, but the majority of Indonesian youth could not tell you why. Data from the country's health ministry indicates that some 75 percent of Indonesians aged between 15 and 49 believe HIV is transmitted by mosquitoes.

    Like many of her peers, Ariyanti Tarman, 26, says she did not have any formal sex education while in school.      

    "The only thing close is biology class and it was about reproduction and that's it," said Tarman.  "So I got information about sex and issues related to sex such as HIV and STDs from newspapers, magazines, the Internet and also from movies."

    The world's most populous Muslim nation is socially conservative and, for many, discussing sex is taboo.

    But, a more liberal approach to sex is putting pressure on traditional attitudes.  A recent global survey found that nearly 40 percent of Indonesian teenagers have had sex and almost half of them do not use contraception with new partners.

    With the government reluctant to implement sex education into the national curriculum, Zoya Amirin, a prominent female sex psychologist, is taking the matter into her own hands.  

    Amirin recently launched a weekly video podcast on issues related to sexual health and says she hopes it will help fill in the knowledge gaps.

    "Most of the research actually shows that most of the people learn from porn, asking from their friends and they believe in myths," said Amirin. "That is a dangerous thing. For instance, they believe that washing your genitals after having sex, especially with alcohol, can prevent you from getting a sexual transmission infection."

    The lack of basic information about sexual health and the prevalence of myths also runs parallel to the spread of HIV across the country.

    The National AIDS Prevention Commission reports the rate of HIV infections is on the rise in several provinces, including Bengkulu, Papua, Maluku, Aceh and Banten.

    Official figures show that some 70,000 Indonesians are HIV positive, but it is estimated the real figure could be as high as 300,000.  For Aryanti Tarman, conservative attitudes need to catch up with modern day realities.

    "I think lots of people are sexually active even though they are not married," added Tarman.  "It seems that the society in general is still trying to ignore that. They still pretend that it is not happening but it is happening, so, like, you need to do something about it and make sure that if the young people do it at least they do it safely."

    Although the government has been reluctant to introduce sex education into the curriculum, non-traditional educators like Zoya Amirin say they are seeing a change in public attitudes.

    Amirin says she has received an overwhelming response to her weekly podcasts and has even been pleasantly surprised by reactions from religious conservatives.

    While declining to name names, Amirin says several private Islamic boarding schools have hired her to conduct sex education workshops this year.

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    X
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.