Sexual and reproductive health – what do men know and want?

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.

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