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Educating and Engaging Young Men in Reproductive Health

Although US teen birth rates continue to decline, geographic, socioeconomic, and racial or ethnic disparities persist.[a] In 2015, 229,715 babies were born to women aged 15–19 years, for a birth rate of 22.3 per 1,000 women in this age group, and teen fatherhood occurred at a rate of 10.4 births per 1,000 men in this age group.[b]  Eighty percent of young men aged 15–19 years report that they would be very upset or a little upset if they were to get a female pregnant.[c] Data suggest that teen fathers attend fewer years of school and are less likely to graduate from high school.[d]   When compared with other age groups, young men also are affected disproportionately by sexually transmitted infections.[e],[f]

Young men have an important role to play in promoting reproductive health.  Their involvement in contraceptive decision making has been shown to increase the use of effective methods of pregnancy and STD prevention.[g],[h],[i],[j]

CDC has been addressing male reproductive health for almost a decade, convening its first male reproductive health summit, Advancing Men’s Reproductive Health in the United States [PDF – 45 pages, 2.3MB], in September 2010.  CDC supports several projects that educate, engage, and involve young men in reproductive health in innovative ways.  These include the following:

Engaging Young Men in Reproductive Health-Evaluating Innovative Approaches

Recognizing the important role of young men in promoting reproductive health, the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) supports five projects, and OAH and CDC are working together to support three additional projects that implement and evaluate innovative approaches to educate and engage young men in reproductive health and teen pregnancy prevention efforts.

Engaging Young Men in Preventing Premature Fatherhood Project

CDC is collaborating with JSI-Denver, CAI, and Gaston Health and Human Services to pilot the 2013–2018 Engaging Young Men in Preventing Premature Fatherhood project in Gaston County, North Carolina.  The purpose of the project is to improve reproductive health services for young men and to increase young men’s use of these services.

[a] Romero L, Pazol K, Warner L, et al. Reduced Disparities in Birth Rates Among Teens Aged 15–19 Years — United States, 2006–2007 and 2013–2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016;65:409-414. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6516a1.

[b] Martin JA, Hamilton BE, Osterman MJK, et al. Births: Final data for 2015. National vital statistics report; vol 66, no 1. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2017.

[c] Martinez G, Copen CE, Abma JC. Teenagers in the United States: sexual activity, contraceptive use, and childbearing, 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth. Vital Health Stat 23. 2011;10(31):1-35.

[d] Fletcher JM, Wolfe BL. The effects of teenage fatherhood on young adult outcomes. Econ Inq. 2012;50(1):182-201.

[e] Miller WC, Ford CA, Morris M, et al. Prevalence of chlamydial and gonococcal infections among young adults in the United
States. JAMA. 2004;291(18):2229-2236.

[f] Miller WC, Swygard H, Hobbs MM, et al. The prevalence of trichomoniasis in young adults in the United States. Sex Transm Dis. 2005;32(10):593-598.

[g] Kerns J, Westhoff C, Morroni C, Murphy PA. Partner influence on early discontinuation of the pill in a predominantly Hispanic population. Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2003;35(6):256-260.

[h] Kraft JM, Harvey SM, Hatfield-Timajchy K, et al. Pregnancy motivations and contraceptive use: hers, his, or theirs? Women’s Health Issues. 2010;20(4):234-241.

[i] Harper C, Callegari L, Raine T, Blum M, Darney P. Adolescent clinic visits for contraception: support from mothers, male partners and friends. Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2004;36(1):20-26.

[j] Cox S, Posner SF, Sangi-HaghpeykarH. Who’s responsible? Correlates of partner involvement in contraceptive decision making. Women’s Health Issues. 2010;20(4):254-259.

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