Reproductive health programs have traditionally focused on women. However, it is now widely recognized that men have an important influence on women’s and children’s health, as well as distinct health needs of their own. As a result, DSHS family planning and reproductive health programs have increased efforts to provide clinical and educational services to males.
Men’s Reproductive Health Needs
Men’s reproductive health needs include a wide range of services: family planning, treatment and the prevention of STI/HIV/AIDS, infertility, sexual problems (impotency), and others. Men need clinics and staff that provide confidential and non-judgmental care. Program staff should be aware that, like women, men are not a homogenous group.
The needs of adolescent males, married men, older men, men with HIV/AIDS, and homosexual men differ. Reaching men can be more difficult than reaching women, for whom family planning and child health clinics have been specifically designed. Traditionally, men are much less likely to use a health clinic than women are.
Male Health Framework and Recommendations - Urban Institute.
Guidelines for Male Sexual and Reproductive Health - Region 2 Male Involvement Advisory Committee
Learn about STDs - American Social Health Association
Sexually Transmitted Diseases Information - Center for Disease Control (CDC)
Title X Male Involvement Prevention Services
While all DSHS family planning programs have the capacity to serve males, federal Title X special funds have been available through a competitive process (Title X Male Involvement Prevention Services Website) to enhance a clinic’s capacity and to gather data as to the barriers and or special needs of male clients. Some of the data collected from these projects has revealed that:
- Men are overwhelmingly satisfied with the services they receive in DSHS funded family planning clinics.
- Over half of men are referred to services by their partner, female friend or mother. Female clients are the first resource in outreach to males.
- Projects provide health services to a population of men who have little or no other health resources including health insurance.
- Most men report their reason for coming into the clinic is to be checked for sexually transmitted diseases.
- Most men report using condoms “sometimes” although a disconcerting number report “never”.
- The majority of men practice withdrawal as a birth control technique at least “sometimes”.
- Almost half of men report having multiple partners.
While these are only some of the results of data collection over the life of the projects, the information can be used to identify patterns of behavior and develop clinical and educational services to meet men’s specific needs.
Steps to Increase Male Services
Use the Male Friendliness Assessment (MFA) tool to evaluate a clinic
Additional Tools to help with the MFA
Develop Agency Policy and Protocols
- Address the family planning needs of men as well as women.
- Use feedback from the MFA to develop goals, objectives, and activities designed to increase the number of male clients.
Develop S M A R T Objectives
- Specific – What will you achieve? Who will do it? Is it clear and well-defined?
- Measurable – Is it measurable? Can YOU measure it?
- Achievable – Can you get it done in the proposed timeframe and with your resources?
- Relevant – Is your program designed to achieve this outcome?
- Time-framed – By when will the objective be achieved?
A formula for developing objectives is, “By this date, who will do what by how much”.
Example Objectives Statement
By the end of the year, Family Planning Clinic of Somewhere in TX will increase the proportion of males served by 5%.
Provide Staff Training
The MFA may uncover areas where staff needs competency training:
- Creating a male welcoming environment
- Learning counseling and communication skills to interact effectively with men
- Conducting outreach to males
- Providing culturally competent services to adolescent males, older males, gay males, etc.
- Facilitating male/female sexual communication
There are a number of organizations nationally that provide staff training for male involvement. The Department of State Health Services contracts with the Cardea in Austin to provide technical assistance, educational resources and training.
1106 Clayton Lane Suite 410E
Austin, TX 78723
ph: (512) 474-2166 fax: (512) 476-0326
Director - Sandy Rice