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Bangkok to youths: Don’t have sex on Valentine’s Day, go to temple instead

Bangkok to youths: Don’t have sex on Valentine’s Day, go to temple instead

Bangkok officials have urged youths to forgo sex on Valentine’s Day and burn incense at a temple instead.

The appeal was made out of concern for the high HIV rate among gay men and the country’s teenage pregnancy rate, which is the highest in southeast Asia.

In the capital, HIV prevalence in men who have sex with men stood at 30% in 2013, which is comparable to AIDS hotspots in Africa.

Valentine’s Day is a popular western import in tourist-friendly Thailand and media surveys have shown that teenagers prefer to lose their virginity on the day.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration urged young people to free fish and birds or go to the temple instead.

Freeing caged animals is an auspicious Buddhist ritual that is seen as a way to enhance karma.

Buddhist-majority Thailand remains mostly conservative despite its many gay bars, clubs and massage parlours.