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Men's use of sexual health services
  1. Steve Pearson, BSc, PhD, Researcher
  1. Centre for Sexual Health Research, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  1. Correspondence Dr S Pearson, Centre for Sexual Health Research, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 2380 597770. Fax: +44 (0) 2380 593844. E-mail: pearson22s{at}yahoo.co.uk

Abstract

Context and objective Previous research on users of sexual health services has focused primarily on women. However, a focus on men also is needed to address sexual ill-health. This paper uses various data sources to describe the level of, and trends in, men's use of sexual health services in England.

Data sources Routine data are presented on clients of family planning clinics (FPCs), Brook Advisory Centres and attendances at genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics. Cross-sectional surveys used include the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, Morbidity Statistics from General Practice and the National Gay Men's Sex Survey.

Results The number of male clients attending FPCs has increased by 160% over the 1990s. Most of this increase is due to more men obtaining condoms. The ages of these clients are unknown, but data from Brook Advisory Centres show an increase among younger men. The one service for which male and female use is approximately equal is GUM. Male cases of sexually transmitted infections and other treatments have increased over the 1990s, although not at the same rate as female cases. Use of GUM clinics by homosexually active men is much greater than by all men. Recent data on men's use of general practice for sexual health are lacking.

Discussion and conclusions While overall service use among men is still at a comparatively low level, it has increased over the 1990s for some services. Further in-depth research should question men's wants and demands from sexual health services.

  • Accepted March 10, 2003.

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  • Accepted March 10, 2003.

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