A new study has found that men have positive attitudes towards an innovative male contraceptive, Vasalgel. The landmark study, published in Cogent Medicine, is the first insight into how men perceive the new contraceptive and gives promising signs that Vasalgel may revolutionise approaches to reproductive health.
Currently, condoms and vasectomy are the only options available for male contraception, putting a disproportionate responsibility on women to provide contraception to avoid unplanned pregnancy. Vasalgel is a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) currently under development which will redress this imbalance by offering a reliable contraceptive for men. Vasalgel works by injecting a polymer into the vas deferens -- the duct which conveys sperm from the testicle to the urethra -- forming a semi-solid plug which blocks viable sperm passing through. The treatment may be effective for up to 10 years but it can be reversed at any time by a second injection which dissolves the polymer.
The researchers wanted to examine what men thought of the new contraceptive. The survey, comprising of 146 male participants, asked questions designed to assess several considerations including the participants' perceptions of pregnancy, the benefits of Vasalgel, interpersonal factors, and social norms.
The results of the survey showed that attitudes towards Vasalgel were predominantly favourable, 41% of all participants either moderately or strongly agree with the statement 'I would use Vasalgel if it became available' compared to only 22% who either moderately or strongly disagreed. A further 57% percent of participants reported that using Vasalgel would be 'very nice' or 'nice', compared to only 6% who said it would be 'awful' or 'very awful'. The majority of participants also agreed that Vasalgel should be put on the market 'as soon as possible', as well as overwhelmingly agreeing that it was an important invention.
Aisha King, one of the authors of the study commented 'this research strongly implies that young men today are ready to shoulder the contraceptive responsibility that has traditionally rested upon women. If our results generalize, a new form of contraception for men could change the global approach to reproductive health by reducing unintended pregnancies and inspiring increased inclusion of men in reproductive health services'.
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King, A., Kaighobadi, F., & Winecoff, A. (2016). Brief report: A health belief model approach to men’s assessment of a novel long-acting contraceptive. Cogent Medicine, 3(1), 1250320.