It’s National Men’s Health Week, and Planned Parenthood encourages all men to celebrate by scheduling a visit with their local Planned Parenthood center. Though the majority of Planned Parenthood’s services provide care for women, seven percent of Planned Parenthood’s patients in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota are men who turn to Planned Parenthood for sexual health care like STI testing and treatment, condoms, and education.
That number is higher across all reproductive health providers. According to a 2002 Guttmacher Study, a mere 14% of men make a reproductive health visit annually. Though men’s sexual and reproductive health is often overlooked, it is essential that men be informed about their sexual and reproductive needs, especially if they are sexually active. Since symptoms of STIs are not always obvious, it is important to get tested regularly.
The lack of information surrounding men’s sexual health is apparent from the 2011 STI report for Minnesota. Rates of syphilis increased 19% among men, and homosexual men accounted for 88% of all early syphilis cases. Additionally, men are more often affected by HIV/AIDS than women, accounting for nearly 3 out of every 4 new cases. Again, homosexual men bore a disproportionate burden, making up 61% of all HIV/AIDS cases in the US. Given that 1 in 5 people with HIV is unaware of their diagnosis, it is critical that men take advantage of reproductive health services, such as those offered at Planned Parenthood, to protect the reproductive health of themselves and their partners.
Moira, Web Correspondent, Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Datoka