Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in men, are diseases or infections that can be acquired by sexual contact. The microbes that cause the disease may transmitted from individuals to others through the blood, semen, or vaginal fluid or other bodily fluids contacts.
These infections can sometimes be transmitted through non-sexually means, e.g from mother to infant during pregnancy or childbirth, and also through blood transfusions or sharing of sharp objects.
STDs do not present with symptoms sometimes, so many of them are easily mistaken for other disease conditions. In some cases there are mild or no symptoms at all. Having knowledge of the risks and knowing the signs and symptoms of common STDs in men is important for any man who is sexually active.
The following are the most common STDs in men:
Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection that can affect the throat, anus or urethra. It is commonly transmitted during anal, oral, or vaginal sex that involves a man or woman who has already been infected. Most men with gonorrhea do not display any symptoms at it early stage.
For those who do, the symptoms may include:
- a white, or yellow discharge from the penis
- pain during urinating
- swollen testicles
Herpes is a viral infection that is normally caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). The Herpes virus that affect the mouth is known as oral herpes or HSV Type 1 and the one that affects the genitals is known as genital herpes or HSV Type 2. Herpes can be transmitted through direct contact with the mouth or genitals of a person who has already been infected with the virus through sexual intercourse or oral sex.
Many symptoms of herpes infection may be difficult to identify. Some people may not experience any sign or symptoms at all. Symptoms normally comes between days or few weeks after infection. The initial stage can be severe.
The following are Common symptoms of herpes in men:
- severe fever
- loss of appetite
- itching, tingling, or burning sensation on the skin in the area where the blisters will come out
- blisters on the sexual organs like the penis, testicles, and also around the anus, buttocks, thighs, lips, tongue, gums, and other parts of the body
- aching muscles in the buttocks, lower back, thighs, or knees
- swollen and sometimes tender lymph nodes in the groin area or in the armpit
Hepatitis B is a type of hepatitis that is normally caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). You can contract hepatitis through blood or bodily fluids of an infected individual with the virus. Unlike other STDs that always cause more obvious symptoms focused around the genitals, hepatitis B can causes some dangerous inflammatory condition in the liver.
Many people infected with hepatitis B will may mild or no symptoms at all. Those who do experience symptoms normally mistaken it for common cold. Even if a person has no symptoms, the virus can continue causing damage the liver if left untreated.
Hepatitis B symptoms include:
- yellow eyes
- feeling lethargic
- low-grade fever
- muscle and joint pain
- loss of appetite
- jaundice (yellow hue to the skin and dark urine)
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Human papillomavirus is a group of viruses that comprises more than 150 strains. Most of their strains are quite harmless, but about 40 of them are considered to be potentially harmful. HPV has been said to be among the most common sexually transmitted diseases today. Most people will eventually acquire one strain of the virus during their lifetime. According to the research, there are always approximately 14 million new cases of HPV every year.
HPV can be transmitted via skin-to-skin contact with a person who has been infected with the virus and can also be transmitted through oral, anal, or vaginal sex.
Common HPV symptoms may include the following:
- genital warts
- warts in the mouth or throat
Unlike other STDs which can only be prevented through the use of condoms or by abstinence, HPV can only be prevented only by the use of vaccines which are Gardasil and Cervarix that have been approved by the FDA:
The originally recommended only for females from age 11 to 26, Gardasil has now been licensed for use in children from age of 11 to 21 to prevent genital warts.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is usually transmitted through anal, oral, or vaginal sex. Syphilis is said to be among the most serious STDs in men because of its connection with HIV and the increased risk of developing HIV when infected with syphilis.
Syphilis always present with four phases: primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary and each phase present with different symptoms.
The symptoms of primary syphilis in men may include:
- a very small and painless sore, usually on the penis, anus, or lips
- swelling of lymph nodes around the sore area
Symptoms of secondary may include:
- sore throat
- consistent headache
- skin rashes that does not itch, mainly on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet
- swollen lymph nodes
Only few individual actually enter the fourth stage of this infection which is the tertiary stage even when it’s left untreated. Syphilis can cause serious medical complication and death if it should get to this stage.
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that is transmitted during anal, oral, or vaginal sex with someone who is already infected with it. It’s among the most common STDs among men.
Many people who are infected with chlamydia don’t experience any symptoms. In some people the symptoms only display several weeks after been infected. Some of the symptoms of chlamydia in men include:
- Pain when urinating
- Whitish discharge
- swollen around the testicles
The followings are common ways to prevent STDs:
- Practicing safe sex is important in prevent STD infection.
- Abstinence from any type of sexual contact.
- Stay away from open wound and bodily fluids of an infected person.
- Use condoms during sexual intercourse.
- Avoid sharp objects that has been used by others