Important Supporters, Important Clients

To health care providers, men are important for 2 reasons. First, they influence women. Many men care about their partner’s reproductive health and support them. Others stand in their way or make decisions for them. Thus, men’s attitudes can determine whether women can practice healthy behaviors. In some circumstances, such as avoiding HIV infection or getting help quickly in an obstetric emergency, a man’s actions can determine whether a woman lives or dies.

Men are also important as clients. Important family planning methods—male condoms and vasectomy—are used by men. Men also have their own sexual and reproductive health needs and concerns—in particular regarding sexually transmitted infections (STIs)—which deserve the attention of the health care system and providers.