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China Highlights Men's Sexual Health
A hundred communities in 16 Chinese cities promoted sexual health advice services for men on Monday to mark the country's third Male Health Day.

China's first exhibition on male reproductive health is also currently being held in the capital, Beijing, to coincide with the event.

China named October 28 Male Health Day in 2000 and hundreds of thousands of Chinese men have shown great interest in related health services in the past two years.

This year, the theme of the day was to "pay attention to male reproductive health and men's participation in family planning."

Official figures show that the infertility rate for men reached 11 percent in some of China's more developed coastal provinces due to stress, unhealthy lifestyle and worsening environment.

"The reproductive health of men is critical to improving population quality in China," said Chen Shengli, an official with the State Family Planning Commission.

The Chinese government has devised programs to provide consultancy services on sexual health for men and encourage them to be more responsible for family planning and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases since the United Nations called for sexual health education for young boys and men.

Lin Shengzhong, a local family planning worker in northeast China's Heilongjiang province, said that at first he had hesitated to promote a sexual health service for men in rural areas.

However, to his surprise they had shown much interest, he added.

So far the sexual health education and consultancy service has been offered in more than 8,000 villages in Heilongjiang, the northern most province of China with a considerable rural population.

In those villages people no longer link male reproductive health problems with affairs or poor hygiene and have begun to acquire more knowledge about having babies.

In big cities like Beijing, more and more men are also paying attention to sexual health.

Wang Zhanwen, a young male employee of an insurance company in Beijing, happened to pass by the booth the community workers set up on Monday offering free advice. He chatted with them in the street in a relaxed manner after reading some leaflets.

About 1,500 condom vending machines have been set up in communities, public toilets and university dorms in Beijing.

Community workers give lectures and distribute booklets in the communities and men with specific problems can seek personal advice.

"The government is also placing more importance on health services of this kind and regards them as an effective way to improve people's quality of life," said Fu Shihua, deputy secretary-general of the China Population Culture Promotion Association.

The country was tending to adopt more moderate measures in implementing its family planning policy, he added.

(Xinhua News Agency October 29, 2002)


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