Reproductive health counseling for young men is designed to help reduce pressure for young men to become sexually active and improve use of contraceptives if they do choose to become sexually active. The intervention includes a combination of a highly explicit half-hour presentation involving slides and tapes and a personal health consultation. The intervention was delivered to a non-disadvantaged sample of young men aged 15-18. A study of the reproductive health counseling for young men found that patients in the intervention received significantly higher scores on measures of fertility knowledge and knowledge of the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. These young men were also more likely to have practiced testicular self-examination. No significant impacts on sexual activity were found.
DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM
Target population: Young males, aged 15-18.
The reproductive health counseling for young men intervention is designed to improve contraceptive practice, knowledge about fertility, prevention of STDs, and the practice of testicular self-examination and to decrease coercive sexual attitudes. Young men receive a one-hour medical appointment that includes the viewing of a presentation and a visit with a health care practitioner. The presentation features information on reproductive anatomy, testicular examination, contraception, and access to health services. A meeting with a health practitioner follows the presentation and focuses on contraception. Samples of condoms and other birth control devices are provided.
Evaluated population: Participants included almost 1,195 15-18 year old males who were recruited by phone, but only 971 subjects had complete data to analyze. The men had ambulatory care at one of the participating medical offices during the 18-month recruitment period. Less than five percent of the young men were black and less than four percent were Asian. 86 percent of the men indicated their father was employed, and 44 percent indicated that their father had a degree from a four-year college.
Approach: Men were randomly assigned to the reproductive health consultation intervention or a control group after they completed a baseline questionnaire. The researchers collected data at baseline, entry into the study, and follow-up using self-report mechanisms. The questionnaires were completed in medical offices and strict confidentiality was assured. Impacts of the intervention were evaluated in terms of the participants’ sexual activity at the time and the feeling of impatience for those who had not yet had sexual intercourse. Subjects who did not respond to questions regarding sexual activity were considered sexually inactive.
Results: The study found little difference in sexual activity status between the intervention and control subjects at follow-up. The intervention did, however, show an increase in willingness to delay sexual activity among males who where not yet sexually active (an odds ratio of 0.64, p<0.001). Results of the study show that the consultation helped improve the effectiveness of contraceptive use among men who were sexually active at follow-up (before the intervention 39% reported no contraceptive use, after the intervention 32% reported no contraceptive use). Men who received the intervention scored higher on measures of fertility knowledge (odds ratio of 1.37, p<0.01) and STD prevention knowledge (odds ratio of 1.98, p<0.001. Men in the intervention were also more likely to practice testicular self-examination. Thirty percent of the intervention group reported having practiced testicular self-examination three or more times in the preceding year, while only eleven percent of the control reported doing so.
Researchers suggest making additional efforts for young men who were already sexually active at the time of the intervention. They also suggest follow-up consultations and efforts that involve the participant of the partner.
SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION
Danielson, R., Marcy, S., Plunkett, A., Wiest, W., & Greenlick, M. R. (1990). Reproductive health counseling for young men: What does it do? Family Planning Perspectives, 22(3), 115-121.
Link to program curriculum: http://www.socio.com/srch/summary/pasha/paspp08.htm
KEYWORDS: Male-specific; Adolescents (12-17); Young Adults (18-24); Sexual Activity; Condom Use and Contraception; STD/HIV/AIDS; White/Caucasian; Clinic-based.
Program information last updated 5/31/13