I hope to end discrimination and ignorance and promote a correct and rational understanding about sexual health.
Yuxuan is a member of the International Youth Leadership Council.
My name is Yuxuan Shen and I am right now a fourth year student in the George Washington University double majors in international affairs and economics and minor in public health. I am also an IYLC member of Advocates for Youth.
My involvement into the youth sexual health and rights movement began two years ago. Even though my father is a doctor and he influences me a lot, however, I didn’t realize the importance of youth sexual health and rights until the semester after I took my first public health class. In the class, we learned a lot about HIV/AIDS and other sexual health issues. I began to realize most young people today are still not their bodies’ owners. A big part of them can’t be responsible for their sexual practice and the society lack the awareness of it. So I started to get involved. Besides inspired by my terrific professor and classmates, I am also motivated by the situation my country is facing. I am an international student from China where AIDS had become the leading cause of death among infectious diseases, surpassing both tuberculosis and rabies and causing 26,000 deaths in the year 2009. With an estimated growth rate of 20% each year, AIDS needs to be addressed. However, the fact is, although AIDS in China now is targeting more on young people, due to traditional ideology, most Chinese young people still view issues related to sexual health and rights as dirty jokes. Schools in China also avoid comprehensive sex education. As a result, many young people not only suffer from physical diseases but also suffer from discrimination. So I really hope to change this situation and promote a correct and rational understanding on the issue of sexual health. From my point of view, young people of my generation and future generations should have the right to decide their sexual practice and should be responsible for their choices.
However, it is clear that young people around world are still weak on the issue of sexual health and rights. We need stand up and speak it out aloud. If we can’t take the responsibility to advocate for our generation and the followings, the future will become unforeseen. So, I am Yuxuan Shen, and I will stand up and say it aloud. Even though I am not an experienced activist, I will try my best for rights, respect, and responsibility in the issue of young people sexual health and rights.