Males like the mail?
Have the Scots discovered the best way to get men to check out their own health?
A scheme running in NHS Lothian providing free postal testing kits for chlamydia has proved more popular with men than women. Research being carried out at Glasgow University of how the scheme is being used by 13 to 25-year-olds found that 80% of men in the survey had used the kit, compared to 46% of women.
The home test kits were pioneered in the Lothian area through a scheme being funded by the Scottish Execuive. They are now being made available to other Scottish health boards and it is expected that Orkney, Forth Valley, Dumfries and Galloway and Tayside will be making them available by the end of the year.
The MHF believe the research suggests a way ahead for reaching men. 'This study shows very clearly that young men will get themselves screened for chlamydia if they are offered the right kind of service,' said MHF CEO Peter Baker.
MHF president Dr Ian Banks added: 'This proves that men will make use of screening programmes or indeed health promotion IF they are delivered in the correct way. This can be applied to other areas such as bowel cancer screening. What is now needed is further support from government and more open-mindedness amongst health professionals.'
Chlamydia has increased alarmingly in Scotland over the past decade. Diagnoses among men have increased five-fold since 1996 — up from 827 cases to 4389.
The research, which was published in the Journal Of Family Planning And Reproductive Health Care, also found that men are now more likely to have chlamydia than women: the prevalence rate was 12.3% among young men and 10.6% among young women.
NHS Lothian introduced the postal test kits in 2003 in family planning clinics, youth drop-in centres and other health services. They were also available from outlets such as record stores and colleges. Users supply a urine sample by post and receive results by phone, letter or text.
Have you used the kit? Would you use it if it was available in your area? Tell us what you think.
Peter Baker says: 'It seems that men prefer a system that is easy-to-use, confidential and which involves no face-to-face contact with a health professional. There must be lessons here too for a wide range of other health services.' Do you agree with Peter? What other services could be provided in this way?
Page created on August 13th, 2007
Page updated on January 16th, 2010