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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Guys: Go Plug Your Penis Into a Planned Parenthood. Please.

Posted by on Tue, Oct 9, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Slog tipper Emily directs us to this rather horrifying Slate article, which points out that many men completely ignore their sexual health, including getting regularly tested for sexually transmitted diseases:

Tests for STDs “are not generally a part of a man’s physical checkup unless the doctor picks up signs or symptoms,” says Jean Bonhomme, president of National Black Men’s Health Network. He noted that getting men, particularly the young, to go to the doctor at all, for anything, is a feat roughly equivalent to wrestling an alligator. “I’m not sure men are being regularly tested for a doggone thing.”

The numbers bear Bonhomme out. A recent study from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that only 57 percent of men had seen a doctor in the previous year, while 74 percent of women had. A Commonwealth Fund study from 2000, “Out of Touch: American Men and the Health Care System,” found similar disparities. “Physicians are especially unlikely to discuss sexual health with their male patients,” the report notes. Only 14 percent of men reported that their doctors had counseled them on sexual health. A 2009 study showed no improvement in sexual health counseling for sexually active young men ages 15 and 19 between 1995 and 2009: Less than 25 percent were receiving any attention.

...According to the CDC, “Young people represent 25 percent of the sexually experienced population in the United States, but account for nearly half of new STDs,” many of which may not have immediately apparent symptoms, including HPV, chlamydia, syphilis, and HIV...

Can you guess which national healthcare provider the article highlights that does already caters to men's sexual health? Planned Parenthood.

Just think: If more men used the services Planned Parenthood already provides, they'd be healthier, sure, but it would also be harder for Republicans to try and pigeonhole the organization as gleeful baby-killing factories of feminist thought. They'd just be, you know, comprehensive healthcare providers.

 

Comments (19) RSS

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internet_jen 1
In August I had my annual cervical exam and check up. I was only tested for HPV and chlamydia. There is some sort of mandatory surveillance for chlamydia. I think that nothing else was tested for because of my 2+ year monogamous relationship without any health complaints. Well, my cholesterol levels were tested based on my family history. Maybe if I had reported a more promiscuous lifestyle more tests would have been ordered.
Posted by internet_jen on October 9, 2012 at 2:06 PM · Report this
meanie 2
At age 25 I tried as a man to go in for a general physical. I was discouraged at every layer from coming in, because according to stats, nothing could possibly be wrong.

The weird bullshit and judging I got just for coming in was amazing. Also my insurance refused to pay for it, so we came up with a ache and pain to launder in it.
Posted by meanie http://www.spicealley.net on October 9, 2012 at 2:11 PM · Report this
3
The only STD tests offered to a guy with no symptoms will usually be HIV, ghonorhea and chlamydia. (And the latter two are rarely asymptomatic.) Without a specific contact or symptom, providers will usually not want to give you the expensive blood tests for syphilis, HPV, Hep C or herpes.

Just "plug[ing] your penis into a Planned Parenthood" is not a realistic answer.
Posted by yeti on October 9, 2012 at 2:27 PM · Report this
Noadi 4
With the exception of pap tests and having gonorrhea and chlamydia testing in preparation for putting in my IUD I've almost never had any doctor suggest STI testing as part of a routine physical. Doctors are more likely to discuss other sexual health related issues with women but only if it's about pregnancy (or preventing pregnancy). STIs and other sexual health topics are avoided by most doctors except those who mainly deal with sexual health (like Planned Parenthood). The doctor you also see for the flu or your tetanus shot is going to avoid the subject. It's one of the many problems with our health care system, we shouldn't be graduating doctors from medical school who are squeamish about sex but sexual health is not properly covered in medical schools and teaching hospitals (for example: teaching pelvic exams on anesthetized women in for surgery without their consent).
Posted by Noadi http://noadi.net on October 9, 2012 at 2:41 PM · Report this
5
@2: I had the exact same experience at 25 plus I had a routine HIV screening done and was lectured about safe sex and drug use at absurd length despite my assurances that I was extremely safe, monogamous, never did drugs, etc.. which must not have been true since I was getting an HIV test. Seriously, medical community, wtf.
Posted by bitwise on October 9, 2012 at 2:52 PM · Report this
Cienna Madrid 6
@3, did you read beyond the title of this post? Did you read the article? Let me recap for you: After highlighting how many men--and their healthcare providers--are reticent to test for sexually transmitted diseases, the article talks about how that thinking needs to change. Specifically, something along the lines of the ACA's preventative coverage for women needs to be hammered out for men.

The article then points out that Planned Parenthood already offers something akin to that--a wide array of sexual health services for men.

So: To sum it up once again, men need to change their thinking about their sexual health, medical providers need to change *their* thinking about men's sexual health, and Planned Parenthood is on the forefront of those changes. I'm not saying, "There! Fixed!" But it is notable--and applaudable--for an organization whose existence is routinely threatened by Republicans.

I understand your urge to pare down an article's worth of information to a headline and then dismiss it as unrealistic, but that's not helping the conversation any.
Posted by Cienna Madrid on October 9, 2012 at 2:54 PM · Report this
blip 7
@3 HIV, gonnorhea, and chlamydia are the only STIs men should be tested for unless there are specific symptoms or risk factors that indicate further testing.

Gay men should also get their butts tested for HPV but since there is no standard of care for that there aren't many places that will do it (doesn't look like PP does anal HPV screening if the link above is any indication).
Posted by blip on October 9, 2012 at 3:18 PM · Report this
8
Err. Slate.com. Not Salon.
Posted by Bostonguy on October 9, 2012 at 3:28 PM · Report this
9
I also once asked my doc to test me for STDs and he looked at me kind of funny and said, "which ones?" "Uh, all of them, I guess?" It was weird. I definitely got the vibe that he thought it was a strange request. Then once he agreed to test me, he got the order written up and was about to have the nurse come in and draw some blood and I asked a question about the HIV test needing to be taken again in six months. His response? "Oh, you wanted to test for HIV too?" Jesus Christ motherfucker.
Posted by beef rallard on October 9, 2012 at 3:32 PM · Report this
kitschnsync 10
Hi. I'm a guy that used PP's services as a young man. Now I have a regular GP who does that stuff. He juggled my nuts last week, in fact.

1) Thanks for linking the article, Cienna. Planned Parenthood does play an important role in the healthcare of the non-insured women (and men) in this country. It makes me sick to see states like Texas defunding it.

2) No thanks re: blaming men for this. The root of this problem isn't just "men completely ignore their sexual health." Our culture expects men to be tougher than human, and pretty much ignores men's health needs. See: All the stuff women get but men don't in the ACA, fundraising for breast cancer vs. prostate cancer, male suicide rates, and on and on.

This culture includes women, many of whom are very vocal and engaged about advocating for their sex and casting aside their traditional gender roles, but get strangely silent when it comes time to stand up for men and help them throw the yoke.

I'm not necessarily including you in that group, Cienna... But it's hard not to notice that you framed this as something that men should do to advance a feminist goal (reproductive autonomy), when it seems the more pressing issue is the health of the men you are addressing. Stop wagging your finger.
Posted by kitschnsync on October 9, 2012 at 3:45 PM · Report this
11
@7 according to the PP website there is no test for HPV in men beyond visual inspection for warts: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-…

Cienna, I meant to point out that managing your sexual health takes a bit of willingness to learn and personal responsibility on the part of guys and is not as simple as just showing up. I also disagree that it is not horrifying that "Tests for STDs [are not generally a part of a man’s physical checkup unless the doctor picks up signs or symptoms]”.

I do agree that it would be nice if there were tests for more diseases and that tests were cheaper. I also agree that Planned Parenthood provides great resources for guys to manage their health. I was a sex ed peer instructor in high school and got my first HIV test at a planned parenthood to prove to the students I was educating that PP was accessible and useful.

Sorry to be dismissive ;-)
Posted by yeti on October 9, 2012 at 4:23 PM · Report this
12
Just wanted to mention the link to the article is to Slate.com, not Salon.com.
Posted by Catje on October 9, 2012 at 5:05 PM · Report this
13
I wanted to mention the link is to an article on Slate.com, not Salon.com.
Posted by Catje on October 9, 2012 at 5:08 PM · Report this
blip 14
@11 Doctors can do an anal pap smear (a good idea for anyone who has receptive anal sex) and/or do an anal HPV test off-label, but neither test has been standardized in the same manner for butts as they have for the cervix. I wouldn't expect PP to offer these tests, as very few health care providers do. But I digress.
Posted by blip on October 9, 2012 at 5:08 PM · Report this
wingedkat 15
Yeah, I've always been appalled at how few of my male friends get regular STD and health checks.

I've insisted on regular checks with all my sex partners, and had to drive one or two to the center they were so reluctant. Ridiculous.
Posted by wingedkat on October 9, 2012 at 8:24 PM · Report this
16
Interesting article and definitely a multi-part issue. Men, let alone young men, are terrible at going to the doctor. If it's not "they made me feel unwelcome" ala @2 (fyi: get a new doctor) it's "they're just going to tell me to loose weight" or "I'm fine." Men die of prostate cancer because they don't want to have it checked while women collectively freak out when it is recommended they get mammograms LESS. It's pretty fucked up. Hell, the hold "music" at my doctor's office had a stat about women being in charge of 85% of family healthcare. I heard this while waiting on hold to make an appt for my husband...
Posted by kersy on October 9, 2012 at 8:37 PM · Report this
17
This can't be much of a surprise; consider:
* Offices are often remotely located
* Walk-in hours are often limited
* Often there is a significant wait time
* Having something shoved in your urethra hurts like a bitch
* Same for when they draw blood
* You get to worry irrationally for one or two weeks while you wait for the results
* They won't just tell you your damn results over phone or e-mail; you have to go back in person even if you're clear.
* I don't know if it's typical, but once a PP even acted like I was crazy for getting tested just because I had a new sex partner and turned me away.

I get do get tested regularly, thanks to the barrage of education and parental pressure (mom's a nurse) I received growing up, but it doesn't surprise me one bit that most guys don't.
Posted by drewm1980 on October 10, 2012 at 2:29 AM · Report this
nartweag 18
@11,
I (a female) got a blood test for some 30 something strains of HPV.
I go through University of Washington Physicians, so it might be somewhat experimental and not generally available to everybody. My results showed the name (number) of each particular stain the the results to each strain.
I also found this by googling.
http://www.precisiontrials.com/news/hpv-…
So maybe on the horizon.
Posted by nartweag on October 10, 2012 at 8:54 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 19
When a man and a public health clinic love each other very much...
Posted by Theodore Gorath on October 10, 2012 at 9:20 AM · Report this

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