STDs (or STIs as they are popularly known), are infections that are caused by any kind of sexual exposure – including vaginal or anal intercourse, oral sex, or sharing of sexual devices. STDs remain a major public health challenge and lead to serious and costly consequences in the case of both men as well as women. Although treatment for most STDs is readily available, there are others that are incurable, such as HIV, HPV, Hepatitis B and C, and HHV-8. In some cases, the symptoms are hard to detect and this makes the situation worse. Abstinence and the diligent use of latex barriers such as condoms during vaginal or anal intercourse and oral-genital contact can help control the spread of the disease.
Against commonly held notions, men are equally at risk of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases. Some of the most common and serious STDs in men and their effects on them include:
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that affects nearly 4 million people in United States every year. It is extremely common in 15- to 19- year olds, followed by 20- to 24- year olds. It is passed through unprotected sex and causes a white cloudy discharge from the penis and a burning sensation during urination. The infection can spread to the testes and result in sterility.
Another bacterial disease that affects a major section of the population each year, Gonorrhea has oddly been more prevalent amongst African Americans. Common symptoms of the disease in men include white, yellow, or greenish discharge from the penis, rectal discharge, pain or bleeding, throat infection, redness and discharge from the eye, etc. It often results in sterility and occasional swelling of the penis. If passed to an offspring, it may cause the child to be born blind.
Syphilis is caused by a bacterium and is more prominent in people who are in the age group of 25- to 29- year olds. The chances of contraction are said to increase by 30% after even a single sexual exposure to a lesion. It generally gets passed on through direct contact with sores or the mucous membrane or broken skin. They are characterized by rubbery sores, rashes on the body, patchy hair loss, fever, sore throat, headache, tiredness, and wart-like growths in genital areas. Syphilis leads to ulcers of the skin, meningitis, paralysis, blindness, seizures, insanity, and even death eventually if not cured in time.
4. Genital Herpes
Genital Herpes is a viral infection that affects roughly 30 million people in the Unites States every year. The rate of Herpes infection is highest amongst adults – and is most common in African Americans. It causes painful blisters or sores around the genital area, headache, muscle ache, extremely painful urination, fever, and swollen glands. However in most cases, the disease does not show any obvious symptoms. Syphilis is quite curable and does not cause any long-term damage. However, it does cause severe discomfort and increases the chance of a recurring outbreak of the infection.
5. Genital Warts / Human Pappillomavirus
This viral infection affects at least 24 million people in the United States today. It is generally passed on through skin or mucous contact and is characterized by fleshy bumps in the genital area that may be itchy or painful and may bleed if irritated or rubbed. In rare instances, HPV is linked with penile, urethral and anal cancers.
Timely detection and treatment can go a long way in preventing all the hassles associated with an STD. Make sure to visit a lab for an annual comprehensive STD check.