Sexual and reproductive health – what do men know and want?
F. Lakha, A. Glasier
Lothian Primary Care NHS Trust and Department of Obstetrics and
Gynaecology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
Introduction: In Scotland men make little use of sexual and
reproductive health (S&RH) services. While women are seen as having rights
of choice about reproductive healthcare, men have responsibilities. This argues
in favour of addressing men’s sexual health needs and reviewing key issues of
service delivery. If we wish to have a holistic approach to S&RH there is a
need to include and involve men. With this in mind we undertook a pilot study to
determine the need for an all-encompassing S&RH service for men in Edinburgh,
Scotland, and consumer preference for type of service delivery.
Methods: A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to a sample
of men attending a genito-urinary medicine clinic (n=127), a variety of cafes
and a cinema (n=143)and to men attending a family planning clinic (n=110). Men
were asked questions designed to assess their level of knowledge, use of
services and preference for service design.
Results: 95% of men completed the questionnaire. The main source of
information about S&RH was school or friends but not health professionals.
Knowledge regarding the definition of safe sex was rather poor (28%). 73% of men
who had sex with women said they would use a condom in a new relationship.
Whilst 84% of men who had sex with men said they would use a condom for anal sex
in a new relationship. only 16% said they would for oral sex. The men wanted a
confidential, knowledgeable service and ease of access was not an issue. The
main areas of interest were safer sex issues and male contraception. The overall
preference was for provision of services by their family doctor. While 78% of
men felt that group education should be offered only 13% wished to access such a
Conclusion: Men require more education about S&RH. They are keen
to access services and are quite specific as to the types of services and mode
of delivery preferred. Whilst better services and access are required for men,
the need for education is far greater and unless men’s knowledge base is
improved then regardless of service availability many men will remain unaware of
their need to access these services.