The Richmond Register

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August 28, 2012

Women fare better than men in new health law

(Continued)

Although men may visit the doctor to get a physical for work, sports or school, it's not routine, say experts. "Many of the men who visit the family planning clinic are sent by their partners," says Bell. "Fifty percent came because of a female in their life."

Part of the problem in improving coverage of sexual and reproductive health for men is that research is scarce and comprehensive clinical guidelines have never been established, say experts. The Preventive Services Task Force, in declining to recommend screening for chlamydia in men, for example, said there was a "critical gap" in research on the benefits of screening men for the disease.

Some women's health advocates note wryly that although there may be a relative dearth of data related to men's sexual and reproductive health, much of the broad medical research conducted to date has focused on men. Clinical trials for many drugs, for example, for many years excluded women.

Regardless, advocates agree that leveling the playing field for the sexes for sexual and reproductive health services only makes sense.

"It seems foolish to do it differently for women than for men," says Adam Sonfield, a senior public policy associate at the Guttmacher Institute, a research and advocacy organization.

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This column is produced through a collaboration between The Post and Kaiser Health News. KHN, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health-care-policy organization that is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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