Friday, December 25, 2015

Most Young Men Think You Have To Be Naked in Front of the GP

Background: In Australia, 15- to 29-year-olds account for 75% of all sexually transmissible infection (STI) diagnoses. STI rates among young men are rising, with most diagnosed in general practice. Young men less frequently attend general practice than young women, and rarely present with sexual health issues, making it difficult for general practitioners (GPs) to offer opportunistic STI education and screening. Little is known of the barriers preventing male university students accessing general practice for sexual health care, or what would facilitate this. 

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with young men aged 18-24 years attending university between 2012 and 2014. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed using content and thematic analysis. 

Results: Twenty-eight interviews of 26-50 min duration found self-imposed views of masculinity, privacy and embarrassment as key barriers to accessing GPs for sexual health care. This was compounded by poor STI knowledge and not knowing when or where to go for care. Participants, except if they were international students, acknowledged school as an important source of sexual health education. The need for sexual health education at university was identified. While the Internet was a popular source, there were mixed views on the benefits of social media and text messaging for sexual health promotion. 

Conclusions: Current expectations of young male university students to seek sexual health care or acquire sexual health information from medical care may be misplaced. Universities have an excellent opportunity to provide young men with appropriate sexual health information and could offer novel strategies to help young men look after their sexual health.

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By:   Cameron Ewert A, Archibald Collyer A and Meredith Temple-Smith A B 
A Department of General Practice, The University of Melbourne, 200 Berkeley Street, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia. 
 Corresponding author. Email: 

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