Knowledge, attitudes and perceptions regarding modern contraceptive methods: a qualitative study of young men
Abstract: Background: Since 1994 the need for joint sexual and reproductive health (SRH) responsibility between men and women to achieve gender equality and reduce health inequalities has received more attention. The focus has been on young people as they transition into adulthood and are vulnerable to the negative consequences of early pregnancy and childbirth, STIs and early parenthood. Traditionally, contraception has often been regarded as a women’s responsibility however recent efforts have pushed for men’s involvement to improve contraceptive use and reduce unwanted pregnancies and STIs, including HIV. Aim: The overall aim of this study was to understand modern contraceptive use among young men in Sweden. With the objective to identify and explore the knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of contraceptives and to explore the experiences of decision-making of male contraceptive methods among young men. Method: Qualitative content analysis was used as the method of analysis. This study used semi-structured interviews with six young men in Southern Sweden. Interviews were conducted in the fall of 2017, and a gatekeeper was used to identify suitable participants between the ages of 20-30. Findings: Within the context of the young men transitioning into adulthood, contraceptives played an important role in growing up particularly in long-term relationships. Although, they idealized contraceptives to be of equal responsibility between men and women. The findings showed contraceptives were seen as a woman’s responsibility. Between condoms and vasectomy, the men felt they lacked options and their role in contraceptives was limited. Young men in this study displayed difficulties in expressing emotions, and recognized a need for men’s care where they can go for help. Conclusions: The young men’s attitudes and perceptions needs to be considered in order to understand their health needs. Within public health, this has huge repercussions for interventions involving men and adopting gender-transformative programming. An important step forward would be to increase men’s sense of responsibility and involve them in taking preventative measures. Further research is needed on how to effectively involve men in already existing SRH clinics/spaces.
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