Hey guys, did you know that family planning and sexual and reproductive health services aren’t just for women? If you are sexually active, you can benefit from these services, regardless of your gender identity.
Taking Control of Your Sexual & Reproductive Health
Your sexual health is an important part of taking care of your overall health and the health of your partner. You can start by following a few simple steps:
- Set goals. Ask yourself some important questions like:
- Am I taking the necessary steps to reduce my risk for sexually transmitted diseases, like using condoms?
- Am I ready to have a child, and have I talked with a provider about my sexual and reproductive health?
- If I am not ready, am I doing my part to prevent pregnancy?
- Have I discussed birth control options with my partner? Have we discussed sexually transmitted infections (STI) testing together?
- Thinking about these goals and discussing them with your partner is an important step in knowing what action to take next.
- Schedule regular visits with your local family planning provider. These visits are a good opportunity to talk with your healthcare provider about your priorities and goals. They can also help determine health risks early or before they become a problem. Men have a higher risk of heart attacks and testicular cancer, which can both be treated if caught early.
- Get screened for STI/HIV. It’s important for men to get screened and treated for HIV and STIs to protect not only their own health but also their partners. If not diagnosed, you can unknowingly infect a sexual partner with HIV or an STI. STIs can also affect your fertility, which could make it harder for you and your partner to have a healthy pregnancy.
- Lower your risk of HIV with PrEP. PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis and it’s a drug you can take if you’re at risk for HIV to prevent the virus from taking hold in your system. When used correctly, it can reduce the risk of contracting HIV from sex by 99 percent, and from needle use by nearly 75 percent. It’s not treatment for HIV—it’s prevention.
- Keep a healthy lifestyle. Quit smoking, stop using drugs and don’t drink too much alcohol as these things can cause infertility in men and reduce you and your partner’s chances of getting pregnant.
If you’re ready to take control of your sexual and reproductive health, schedule a wellness visit at any NJFPL-supported health center near you.