Planned Parenthood Reaching Out to Men
February 26, 2003
Planned Parenthood clinics are making a concerted effort to expand their patient care to men. In the past year, six San Antonio-based Planned Parenthood clinics have provided a range of sexual and other health care services for men, including STD testing, testicular cancer screening and family planning counseling.Adapted from:
"We've always provided services to men, but in an almost accidental way. It's only over the past year that we've become deliberate about it," said Jeffrey Hons, president of Planned Parenthood of San Antonio and South Central Texas. According to Hons, one reason for this is the number of women they serve with recurrent STDs. "We found ourselves treating only half the problem. It was a no-brainer to try and do more." To get the word out, the clinics bought ads tailored to be more inclusive to men in a local alternative newspaper and on a local radio station's Web site.
Similar efforts are being played out in Planned Parenthood and family planning clinics nationwide. "According to the data we get, the number of male clients treated increased 25 percent from 1999 to 2000," said Michael McGee, vice president of education for the national office of Planned Parenthood.
McGee explained that while it makes sense to offer services to men and women, a percentage of this increase is a result of Title X, the Federal Family Planning Program, requiring organizations that receive federal funding to offer programs and services to men and women.
McGee and Hons noted that their new clientele has required extensive changes in Planned Parenthood's culture to make it more welcoming to men. That means rethinking the art on the walls, the magazines in the waiting rooms, and staff attitude. Hons conceded that expanding services beyond the traditional female clientele might deflect some of the criticism Planned Parenthood receives, though he adds that the clinics are not abandoning their message of promoting family planning and sexual health.
02.12.03; Richard A. Marini