When our founders opened the first birth control clinic in San Antonio, they wanted to help women take control of their reproductive lives. And we are enormously proud of the care we have delivered to women, especially because family planning is inextricably linked to the progress women have made toward equality.
But today Planned Parenthood South Texas is equally committed to providing high-quality sexual and reproductive health care to men. While our services for men aren’t as well known, more than 10 percent of our patients are men.
Prevention & Treatment
In 1972, Planned Parenthood began providing vasectomies to men in Bexar County who could not afford the services of a private physician. This service continued for more than a decade.
With the growth of the community education programs in the 1980s, Planned Parenthood educators recognized the importance of informing boys as wells as girls about sexual health and responsibility. Educators spoke to both genders at schools, colleges, youth-serving organizations, churches and other venues about preventing pregnancy and STDs.
In 1993, we began providing what is known as “partner treatment” — medications for the partners of our patients who were being treated for STDs. The move was in response to an unmet need in the city. Some women required repeated treatments for STDs when their partners went untreated. Many men were embarrassed to seek STD testing at clinics run by the Metropolitan Health Department.
“One of the things that’s been very frustrating for us in the clinics is that when we see a female, we will say to them, ‘Your partner needs to be treated.’ They will say, ‘Where can he go?’” Mary Stotts, a Planned Parenthood nurse practitioner, told the San Antonio Express-News in February 1993.
In the late 1990s, Planned Parenthood South Texas began welcoming men as patients for a variety of services. Besides family planning and STD testing and treatment, other services for men include wellness exams and screenings for testicular cancer, including teaching patients how to perform a testicular self-exam.
In recent years, we have introduced additional services that both men and women can access:
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a daily medication regimen to significantly lower the risk of HIV among for people at high risk of the disease.
Fertility services, including semen analysis, help patients who are having trouble conceiving.
Hormone therapy (estrogen and testosterone) is available for transgender and gender non-conforming patients ages 18 and older. We are proud to offer these services in a compassionate, affirmative environment.
In 2018, we served 2,389 men at our seven health centers, which accounted for more than 12 percent of our patients. (Gender is self-identified by the patient, and Planned Parenthood provides high-quality care to all patients, regardless of sex, gender identity, or gender expression.)
Male patients choose Planned Parenthood South Texas for the same reason women do: affordable, compassionate, non-judgmental care.