Objective To determine the knowledge and practice of contraception among United Arab Emirates (UAE) men.
Design Cross-sectional survey.
Participants Four hundred UAE monogamously married men with children.
Method The participants were randomly selected from the community and interviewed about knowledge and practice of contraception using a structured questionnaire.
Results A total of 348 men (87%) gave consent to participate in the study. Two hundred and ninety-four participants (84.5%) were aware of the availability of male contraceptive methods but only 94 (27%) were currently using these methods; 39 (41.5%) used condoms, 30 (31.9%) practised coitus interruptus, 24 (25.5%) practised the rhythm method and only one (1.1%) had been sterilised. Male contraception was accepted by 116 (33.3%) subjects of the total study population. The reasons for the objections were: religious 133 (57.3%), cultural barriers 47 (20.3%), personal beliefs 29 (12.5%), medical disorders 18 (7.8%) and economical factors five (2.2%). Of 54 users of condoms and coitus interruptus, 16 (29.6%) reported to have experienced adverse effects that included testicular pain in six (37.5%), decreased libido in six (37.5%) and diminished orgasm in four (25%). There were significant associations between using male contraception and levels of education of the partners (male p < 0.007, female p < 0.01), low family size (p = 0.0001) and family income (p < 0.05). Fifty-seven subjects (19.4%) thought that a 'male contraceptive pill' is available and 44 (15.0%) believed that a monthly injection is available for men.
Conclusions The level of awareness of contraception among men attending primary care in UAE is moderate. Two-thirds of the study subjects objected to the use of contraception by their wives and less than 20% practise contraception themselves. This is partly due to sociocultural traditions, religious beliefs and poor knowledge.
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