Understanding what men in South Asia want from sexual health services

Hawkes, S; Collumbien, M; (2007) Understanding what men in South Asia want from sexual health services. International Journal of Sexual Health, 19 (3). pp. 53-64. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1300/J514v19n03_07

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Men play a key role in determining good sexual health outcomes for themselves and their sexual partners. However, many interventions and much of the programmatic focus and effort in reproductive and sexual health care delivery, are focused on women. This paper shows how international goals for development (the Millennium Development Goals), and international agreements on population and development (such as that agreed at the International Conference on Population and Development, Cairo,1994) cannot be met without the full and active involvement of men. We argue that achieving international goals and targets requires more than simply encouraging men to take more responsibility for their actions, it requires a detailed understanding of men's own concerns in the field of sexual health and a commitment to address those concerns to achieve better sexual health for all. Using examples from south Asia, the paper explores the evidence surrounding the burden of men's sexual ill-health in the Region. We find that while public health programmes are (rightly) focused on controlling HIV (and sexually transmitted infections to some degree), evidence from population-based surveys of men across south Asia shows that men are most concerned with 'psychosexual conditions' including discharge syndromes, weakness, and erectile dysfunction. There is evidence that some of these conditions may be linked to higher rates of risk-taking and genderbased violence in some men. We further review patterns of care seeking for men reporting these and other sexual health problems. We conclude that the challenges facing public health professionals are how to ensure that men receive interventions which are appropriate (and affordable and accessible and of high quality) for addressing their own sexual health concerns whilst also meeting wider public health goals of improving population levels of sexual and reproductive health.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Clinical Research
Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Social and Environmental Health Research
Research Centre: Centre for Maternal, Reproductive and Child Health (MARCH)
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/11155


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