Sexual and Reproductive Health Care

Adolescent and Adult Men’s Willingness to Talk and Preferred Approach


      Sexually active adolescent and adult men have substantial sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs, but little is known about their willingness and preferred approach to talk about SRH with their healthcare provider.


      To examine participants’ willingness to talk about 11 SRH topics, including sexually transmitted disease (STD) risk; human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine; condom use; female birth control methods; emergency contraception; concerns about sexual performance or making someone pregnant; being a father; relationships; testicular cancer; and acne, with their healthcare provider and their preferred approach (provider- or self-initiated).


      This cross-sectional clinic-based survey of 346 men aged 16–35 years was conducted in 2011. Bivariate analyses conducted in 2012 examined variation in study outcomes by participants’ predisposing (age, race/ethnicity); enabling (education, past provider SRH discussion); and need factors (SRH concern).


      Almost all participants (84%–98%) were willing to talk about all SRH topics. The top three topics included STD risk (98%); testicular cancer (98%); and HPV vaccine (97%). Among those willing to talk, the majority preferred their provider initiate the discussion (52%–88%). Participants reporting past provider discussions were more likely to prefer that their provider initiate discussions on condom use, female birth control methods, concerns about sexual performance and making someone pregnant, and relationships. Study outcomes did not vary by any other participant predisposing, enabling, or need factors.


      These findings indicate that adolescent and adult men are willing to discuss a wide range of SRH topics with their healthcare provider. Providers need to move beyond whether male patients want to talk about these topics and instead proactively promote these conversations.
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