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Men's use of family planning services shows modest increase

Sexual health

Sexual health

Do men use family planning services provided by their GP or contraceptive clinics? Little is known about men's use of such services and this paper provides some answers.

The study used data from the National Statistics Omnibus Survey, which is conducted every month using around 2,000 adults aged 16 years and over; different adults are selected every month from 100 postcode sectors, stratified by region and sector characteristics.

The study found that between 1991 and 2000, the percentage of men attending contraceptive clinics and general practice for family planning increased, with an estimated annual increase of 15.8% and 3.4% respectively. This equated to an overall annual increase in the use of family planning services by men of 6.7%.

The highest rate of increase in the use of GP family planning services was in men aged 40-44 years, with an annual increase of 6.7% (95% CI 0-13). For contraceptive clinics, the highest rate of increase was in patients aged 16-24 years.

The National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles II 2000-2001 1 reported that if all services were accessible and available, 53% of men aged 16-44 would still choose to attend general practice for professional advice on contraception. However, the study found that, in 2000, only 12.5% of men reported using a GP for family planning purposes in the past five years.

Perhaps we should be doing more to meet the sexual health needs of men.

Pearson SC, Clarke P. Changes in British men's use of family planning services between 1991 and 2000: secondary analysis of a national survey J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care 2007;33:183-7


Dr Richard Ma
GP principal, North London and staff grade in sexual and reproductive health, Margaret Pyke Centre, London

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