Adolescent males continue to be overlooked by health care providers in terms of reproductive health services, new research shows.
Dr. Arik Marcell, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and colleagues compared data from the 1995 National Survey of Adolescent Males and the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth to determine whether improvements have been made in the delivery of STD/HIV counseling services to male teens. They found that fewer than one-quarter of boys ages 15-19 received STD/HIV counseling by a provider during the previous year, according to the 2002 survey of 1,121 young men. These results represent no significant change from 1995, when a similar proportion received such counseling.
Males who reported three or more female partners, anal sex with female partners, or oral/anal sex with male partners were more likely to have received counseling, with roughly one-third saying they had been counseled about STDs in 2002. A similar proportion of those engaging in risky sex received counseling in 1995, the study found.
However, even fewer young men, less than one-fifth, discussed contraception with a health care provider in 2002. That compares with nearly two-thirds of sexually active young women, according to other surveys.
“The medical system is really set up to serve women and maternal-child health in ways that aren’t addressing young men’s needs,” said Marcell.
The study, “Prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Infection/Human Immunodeficiency Virus Counseling Services Received by Teen Males, 1995-2002,” was published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health (2010; doi:10.1016/j.adohealth.2009.12.002).