My role



Sexual health: an issue since 3000BC

Sexual Health Breakout Session — chaired by Colin Penning, the MHF's Gender Duty Project Manager.

Susie Daniel, the chief executive of Brook in London, introduced the topic. She had been involved in women's health since 1972, she said, but birth control had been around a lot longer. The ancient Egyptians had discussed it and the first condom appeared in literature in 1564.

Statutory sexual health services were targeted at women and were insensitive to men, especially gay men. However, Brook had been working with boys for years.

Mark Paknathan, who ran a large GUM clinic at St George's Hospital, said service-providers saw young men as difficult, noisy, and aggressive and were more likely to chuck them out of the clinic than work with the behaviour. He said Brook provided good training on this. It was need for everyone including the receptionist.

Terri Ryland of the FPA said funders always wanted information about service users but that this was understandably difficult to get from young men making their visit to the clinic.

There was general agreement that often the only poster showing a man in a statutory GUM clinic was the one saying that violence was not tolerated. there was no men's magazines. The result was it took enormous courage for young men of 14 or 15 to come into the clinic.

Alan White said that his own research in Bradford showed that anonymous walk-ins were more popular.

The discussion moved onto a general discussion about the difficulties men had talking about their feelings. David Pieper from the Hepatitis C Trust wondered if gay men needed different clinics to other young men.

Turning to the gender duty itself, there was concern that the lack of data, while understandable, might make it more difficult for services to evaluate their effectiveness. Mark Paknathan said that even when data existed service-providers did not always read it.

The workshop concluded with a discussion about designing material to appeal to men. Men, for example, didn't like the idea of HELP lines.

Page created on April 3rd, 2007

Page updated on December 1st, 2009


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