Men’s involvement in contraceptive decision making: perspectives and experiences of young men.
Mkane, Nontethelelo Thabisile.
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Traditionally family planning was seen as the female’s responsibility as it is women that get pregnant. However, increasingly there is recognition that it should be a shared responsibility between women and men. The purpose of this dissertation is to shed insights into male involvement in contraceptive decision-making. The study seeks to understand factors influencing male involvement in contraceptive matters, their awareness and attitudes towards contraception as well as the role they play in decision-making. The study was conducted at Izingolweni area situated in the south coast of KwaZulu Natal under Ray Nkonyeni Municipality. The study adopted a qualitative research approach in understanding the experiences of young men. Non-scheduled structured interviews were conducted with 15 young men between the ages of 18-24 years. The interviews suggest that young men are aware of both male and female contraceptives methods and are supportive of the use of contraceptive methods in their relationship. Study findings suggest that young men generally have a positive attitude towards contraceptive use. Young men from the study believe they have a role and responsibility in contraceptive decision making, they view themselves as contraceptive supporters rather than contraceptive users themselves. Young men still believe that women must take a leading role in contraceptive matters as they are directly affected by pregnancy and they have more contraceptive methods available compared to men. The limited options available for men, the side effects of female hormonal methods, misconceptions and beliefs about female contraceptives are some factors that influence contraceptive use. The existing programmes aimed at increasing male involvement in contraception need to be revitalized to ensure that they address the challenges that young men encounter in contraceptive use. Programmes should pay more attention to side effects and misconceptions of hormonal contraceptives and also ensure that contraception is not gender specific.