187009 No exams… No needles… No rubber gloves… A peer counseling clinic intervention to improve young men's sexual health

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ann P. Zukoski, DrPH, MPH , Department of Public Health, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Jacqueline Cupples, MS , Public Health Division, Benton County Health Department, Corvallis, OR
Ashley Arnold, BA , Public Health Division, Benton County Health Department, Coravllis, OR
Tatiana Dierwechter, MPH , Public Health Division, Benton County Health Department, Coravllis, OR
Charlie Fautin, MPH, RN , Public Health Division, Benton County Health Department, Corvallis, OR
Despite growing awareness of the importance of involving young males in pregnancy and STI/AIDS prevention efforts, information is lacking about the design and delivery of effective strategies for involving men in sexual health services. The use of young males as peer educators and outreach workers is one innovative strategy being adopted by clinics nationwide, yet little is known about its appeal or its effectiveness. This paper will present the program model and findings from the evaluation of the Male Advocates for Responsible Sexuality (MARS) Program. MARS is a peer outreach program which trains young men (ages 18-25) to conduct confidential one-on-one counseling sessions with males ages 13-25 in health clinic settings. Peer counselors use client centered approaches to address questions and concerns related to client relationships, STI/HIV prevention, contraceptives, condom use, testicular health, and health services utilization. Data was collected from 150 young men (ages 13-25) at baseline and at one month follow-up between January 2006 and February 2008. Based on content analysis of counselor chart notes, we will describe client's primary concerns and questions. We will also present changes in attitudinal and behavioral outcomes between baseline and one month follow-up. Preliminary findings indicate that one month following a MARS visit, clients reported statistically significant improvements in frequency and comfort level communicating with partners, positive attitudes about birth control and condoms, and improved condom use self-efficacy. These findings have important implications for the future design of reproductive health programs, policies and give important insights into the needs of male clients.

Learning Objectives:
Examine an innovative model for delivering sexual health education to young males. Understand what young males want to discuss about their sexual and reproductive health in a one-on-one session with a peer. Discuss the positive sexual health outcomes associated with the provision of peer-based education and counseling for young men. Discuss the importance of involving males in reproductive health services and implications for reducing unintended pregnancy, STIs and HIV/AIDS.

Keywords: Male Reproductive Health, Peer Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a doctorate in public health and have evaluated public health programs for 15 years
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.