Being unfamiliar with the Korean health system can making teenager health a daunting task. This page is dedicated to going over some of the basic health concerns teenagers and parents have and how to deal with it in Korea.
1) AIDS/HIV/STD Testing
One important thing that might be on your mind is providing healthcare alternatives to your son or daughter for areas that they might not feel so comfortable speaking to their parents about. One of those areas would be AIDS/HIV/STD testing. Having unprotected sex can lead to all kinds of diseases that need to be treated right away. But it’s not a conversation that many teenagers want to have with their parents. However, letting them know about testing centers in Seoul and around Korea can be a more comfortable way of ensuring that your teenager says healthy. There are many different places that you can get such testing done, both at clinics and hospitals, that are affordable in price, especially with insurance. Korea has a healthcare system that is quite generous in pricing. There are places that offer testing in English for women only like Yoonho Hospital or for both like Daehang Hospital. While policies differ, such places almost always offer 100% confidentiality and anonymity. Check ahead before taking on a clinic.
Condoms are fairly easy to find in Korea. Not only do almsot every convenience store carry them, but in the subway stations, almost all of the vending machines that sells pads and tampons also sell condoms. You're much less likely to hear about condoms in high schools or even colleges. However, they are so easily accessible that they're easy enough to find.
It can also be important to find a healthcare provider that can make sure your daughter stays in good health. It can also be a place to receive medical advice for an female-only ailments or diseases. Almost all hospitals have a gynecologist available, but look to major university hospitals or private clinics that specifically advertise an English-speaking doctor.
3) Abortion Law
In Korea, abortion is illegal except for a few exceptional circumstances like rape. For medical advice, it is strongly recommended that a gynecologist is spoken with in order to plan the best path for your teenager.
4) Sex Education
Almost all international schools offer sex ed classes for older students in high school. The Korean government has also implemented nation-wide sex ed program for their public schools involving materials pre-approved by the government. How much that gets implemented varies from school to school, especially since private schools are much more common in Korea from middle school onwards.
5) Drugs and Alcohol
Korea has a much tighter control over drug abuse than many other countries. The drug trafficking trade is almost nonexistent. However, due to company and university culture, is very often consumed in copious amounts. Since alcohol-drinking activities are mainly left in those two areas of life, they don’t necessarily impact children who are below drinking age.
6) Staying Safe
Staying safe might also be of concern as your teenager gets more and more freedom. Korea is a very safe country, even in a heavily urban area like Seoul. However, like most countries, there are certain areas that are considered more safe than others. For example, Itaewon, which has a large number of clubs and party venues, is not considered to be as safe as other areas in Seoul. This is especially true for non-Korean women who sometimes have reported trouble or sexual harassment in clubs. Overall, though, Korea and Seoul are both very low-risk and free of harm.