One of the biggest misconceptions about Planned Parenthood is that our health centers are only for women. Not only is that not true, but we also have services specifically for men, including vasectomies and testicular cancer screenings. Besides, preventing pregnancy, getting tested for STDs and remaining healthy sexually aren’t just female concerns. Men should care about those things too.
In other words, if you identify as a man, Planned Parenthood has everything to do with you. Here are four other services Planned Parenthood offers to men. June is Men's Health Month, so there's no better time than now to use one or more of these services.
STD Testing and Treatment
Planned Parenthood offers STD testing for the following: chlamydia, genital warts, gonorrhea, herpes, HIV, syphilis and trichomoniasis. We provide treatment for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, and treatment referrals for all the others. The most common symptoms of STDs is none at all, so get tested even if you aren’t showing symptoms. If you’re sexually active, it’s important to get tested at least once a year or before every new partner.
UTI Testing and Treatment
Urinary tract infections may not be the first service that pops into your head when you hear, “Planned Parenthood,” but all of our health centers do UTI testing and treatment. The testing is to make sure the problem is, in fact, a urinary tract infection (symptoms can be similar to STDs and other issues). If it is a UTI, then testing let’s health center staff know which antibiotics to prescribe to treat it.
Planned Parenthood offers the HPV vaccine to men ages 18 to 26, although you can get the vaccine as young as 9. The vaccine protects against the human papillomavirus, which can cause certain cancers, including penile cancer, anal cancer and throat cancer. However, the HPV vaccine will not treat an HPV infection if you have one. The vaccine consists of three shots over the course of six months.
Men who have any reproductive or sexual health problem can make an appointment at Planned Parenthood and talk about the issue with a clinician. Depending on the issue, the doctor or nurse may conduct a pelvic exam. A pelvic exam involves a visual and physical assessment of the penis and scrotum to help the clinician get more information or make a diagnosis. The exam is also great opportunity to talk to the clinician and ask questions.
Primary care doctors may not take the time to talk to their male patients about sexual health issues, but that doesn’t mean they should be ignored. Although much of the discussion around Planned Parenthood centers women’s reproductive health, men can also make an appointment at Planned Parenthood to take care of their reproductive health.
Allison Reilly is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.