Most Common STDs in Men. Always be informed.
The possibility of getting STDs is very much a part of sex as having fun is. There is no predilection as to which gender can these diseases affect more. STD in men is just as common as STD in women. Listed below are some of the most common sexually-transmitted infections that affect sexually active men.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection
Almost every sexually active individual has or have had HPV at some point, making it the most common STD not just in the US, but also worldwide. This can be acquired through oral, vaginal, or anal sex, and even through simple skin-to-skin contact. This STD usually has no signs and symptoms and in most cases, causes no harm. However, some types of HPV can cause genital warts, while others can cause cancer of the mouth, throat, cervix, and penis.
There are vaccines that can protect against these cancers. These include Gardasil, Gardasil-9, Cervarix (for women). For HPV infection in men, Gardasil and Gardasil-9 helps prevent genital warts and abnormal tissue growths in the anus that may lead to cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 11-21 year old males should get vaccinated for HPV.
Chlamydia is another common STD in men, and it can also be spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex. Its most common signs and symptoms include a discharge from the penis and/or burning sensation upon urinating. Take note that these are present in only 50% of cases while the other half are left without any STD signs and symptoms at all.
This STD is treated using antibiotics, mainly Azithromycin. After treatment, the patient is required to undergo lab tests every three months because reoccurrence is common. If left untreated, it can lead to the infection of the epididymis and testes, ultimately resulting to infertility.
Gonorrhea is another bacterial STD in men that has the same signs and symptoms as Chlamydia. Most men who suffer from this disease do not experience any signs and symptoms. Infection occurs 4-8 days after contact, and the bacteria can spread into other parts of the body causing symptoms like rashes and joint pain. This STD can easily be treated with antibiotics, with Cefixime being the most commonly used. The antibiotics used to treat chlamydia may also be used in gonorrhea as these two STDs often occur together.
Syphilis is a highly contagious STD characterized by the presence of four diseases stages. In the first stage, the main symptom is the development of a sore that looks like a seemingly harmless bump. The second stage, meanwhile, is where rashes develop in addition to the sores in the mouth and/or anus. These STD signs and symptoms from the first and second stages then disappear, signaling that the third stage of the disease has commenced. This third stage is otherwise known as the “latent stage” and can last for the rest of the patient’s life. The fourth and last stage, which occurs in only 15% of cases, is where organ and nerve damage develops.
Like most STDs, antibiotics are given to eliminate the disease. The earlier these antibiotics are given, the faster and most likely the recovery will be. It is highly recommended that a sexually active adult undergo routine medical tests for syphilis to detect and contain the disease from advancing to later stages.
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) Infection
The Herpes Simplex Virus has two strains – HSV1 and HSV2 – both of which cause genital herpes, although HSV2 is the usual culprit. The main symptom of an HSV infection in males is the presence of painful blisters on the penis and/or anus. But not everyone with the infection develop these blisters. Like chlamydia, HSV infection is also easy to catch as a simple skin-to-skin contact is all it takes.
Being a viral infection, HSV infection cannot be completely cured. Antivirals may be used to manage and control the disease by suppressing the virus, but they don’t eradicate it. HSV persists throughout the patient’s life, and an outbreak can occur anytime.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. It can be acquired through contact with the bodily fluids – blood, vaginal fluids, semen, and even breast milk – of an infected person. The most common modes of transmission would be vaginal or anal intercourse and needle-sharing. Signs and symptoms of HIV infection and AIDS include fever, fatigue, and muscle ache. Diarrhea and weight loss may also be observed. HIV signs and symptoms may or may not be present, so the only way to know for sure whether you are infected or not is to undergo medical procedures.
Though it may take years for HIV to wreak havoc in the body’s immune system, the end result is always full-blown AIDS. When that happens, the body loses its ability to combat infections. At present, there is no cure for both HIV infection and AIDS. The medications available are only meant to slow down the replication of virus and help infected patient live longer.
When it comes to fighting STDs and maintaining sexual health, knowledge is our best weapon. Recognizing STD in men and its symptoms is a good start, but protecting yourself from these infections is still the best way to avoid them or prevent them from getting worse. To do this, you need to subject yourself and your partner to routine screening tests that can help detect these diseases. The earlier these STDs are detected, the easier it would be to get rid of them.
Multiple affordable lab tests are available to order online through direct access testing to screen for, detect, diagnose, & monitor these STDs.