Valentine's Day is not a happy one for ob-gyn doctors as the romantic night often leads to surging demands for abortion and STD examinations, a Hanoi doctor said.
Ob-gyn hospitals and clinics say they receive a high number of women with unexpected pregnancy in the weeks following big holidays like the New Year's, Christmas, and especially Valentine's Day.
Meanwhile, many men come for examinations anxious about sexually transmitted diseases because they didn't have lovers and slept with prostitutes instead, said the doctor from the capital.
A Monday report on news website VnExpress said that many hotels and guest houses run out of rooms on the night of Valentine's day.
Doctors said the worrying thing is that few of the couples, especially unmarried ones, are using birth control measures.
"A month after the Valentine, the number of women coming to my clinic, as well as others, always surges, or even doubles," said Le Thi Kim Dung, an ob-gyn doctor at the Labor Health Center in Hanoi.
"I don't pass judgment on people having sex because it's a physical need," she said. "But the problem is that young people have to be aware of what they do, of the consequences, so that they can take preventive measures."
Dung said one of the simple measures to prevent unexpected pregnancy and STDs is using condoms, but many young people chose not to. Many say they forgot, or were afraid that their partners would resist because using a prophylactic reduces the pleasure of sex.
A recent national survey on Vietnam's teenagers and young people showed that 95 percent of the respondents know about condoms but were unwilling to use them, the report said.
"Another reason is some people believe their partners are healthy," Dung said. "But once you are having unprotected sex, it means you are completely at risk of having an unexpected pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases."
The doctor said STD infection rates can be very high. 25 percent of men and 50 percent of women become infected after just one unprotected sexual encounter with an infected partner.
She said people cannot know if someone has an STD or not just by looking, adding that around 70 percent of women and 50 percent of men infected with Chlamydia bacterium show no symptoms.
"There are people with good immune systems that do not show symptoms but can still transmit the diseases."
Taking preventive measures is easier than having to come to a clinic to cure a disease or have an abortion afterwards, Dung said.
She suggested people bring condoms whenever they go out or on a vacation, even when they do not plan to have sex.