International Planned Parenthood Federation
- Increase and improve sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service provision for men: Accessible and targeted sexual and reproductive health services need to be provided to all, including men in all their diversity, while ensuring that any changes to services do not have unintended negative consequences on the quality and/or availability of services provided, especially for women and girls. Data commissioned for a recent high level consultation on Men and HIV convened by UNAIDS, Sonke Gender Justice and IPPF showed that whilst HIV transmission is higher among women, anti-retroviral therapy (ART) coverage is lower and AIDS-related deaths are much higher among men [more info here]. Access to a broad range of sexual and reproductive health and HIV services therefore needs to be improved. This can be done by adapting existing services to remove identified barriers and make them more attractive and responsive to men’s needs, and expand those services. To support this, a Platform for Action from the Men and HIV consultation will be released by UNAIDS soon, and IPPF and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) are in the process of developing a Global Package on SRH services for men and adolescent boys to provide information on this which will be ready in the next few months.
- Get out of the clinic: When men do not have access to services, this is harmful to them, harmful to their partners and harmful to their families. It is critical that policies include more focus on reaching men and adolescent boys with innovative service delivery methods in workplaces, places of worship, sports gatherings and other community venues. Similar approaches should also be used to challenge harmful gender norms that lead to men’s unwillingness to seek healthcare services and gender-based violence.
- Promote shared responsibility: more messaging should be provided to men and adolescent boys on the shared responsibility they have for decisions around contraception, preventing HIV or other sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy and child birth, and as parents and caregivers. The 2015 State of the Worlds Fathers Report provides further information, analysis and recommendations in this area.
- Advocate to change harmful laws and policies that affect access to sexual and reproductive health and right (SRHR) for both men and women: these include laws that prohibit access to safe abortion and comprehensive sexuality education and criminalise key populations and the transmission of HIV. It is also important that there be supportive laws in place that criminalise sexual and gender based violence, rape within marriage and female genital mutilation and where these laws exist their implementation needs to be ensured.
- More evidence and research needed building on programmes that work: a more concerted effort needs to be made at all levels to collect, analyse and disseminate data that is disaggregated by both sexes and can be used to understand how gender relations and other dynamics of power shape sexual and reproductive health, including HIV. We should also ensure that we are building on programmes that are proven to work such as SASA! and Stepping Stones which recently published a newsletter with a focus on engaging men and boys [here]. One area of medical research that needs increased focus and more resources is developing new male led reversible contraceptive methods beyond male condoms, for example in developing a “male pill”.