Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) are contagious diseases transmitted by body fluids due to unprotected sexual intercourse. STDs that are rarely transmitted due to blood transfusions, surgery, and dental procedures; also can be transmitted from mother to baby during childbirth. The prevalence of STDs is increasing around the world.
The main reason for this is the increase in instances of unprotected sexual behaviour and the increasing number of sexual partners. Protective methods other than condoms and antibiotic resistance are among the other reasons for this prevalence.
There are more than 30 parasites, viruses, and bacteria that can be transmitted through a sexual relationship, and 8 of them are common. The most common STDs are chlamydia, syphilis, trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, HPV, HIV (AIDS),herpes simplex (HSV),and hepatitis B.
What are Sexually Transmitted Diseases?
STDs are transmitted by unprotected sex, which facilitates the exchange of bodily fluids, including saliva. Common STDs are as follows:
- Genital condyloma, HPV,
- AIDS (HIV infection),
- Urethritis (Ureaplasma, mycoplasma, and chlamydia infections),
- Genital herpes (herpes simplex infection),
- Hepatitis (B and C),
- Trichomonas vaginalis infection,
- Chancroid (soft wart),
- Donovanosis (granuloma inguinale),
- Molluscum contagiosum.
STDs due to viruses, bacteria, and fungi might show different symptoms in different individuals. Untreated diseases can become chronic and cause repetitive infections or might lead to significant health problems, such as HIV. An increased number of sexual partners will increase the repetitive infection transmission rate and cause a threat to public health. Using condoms is highly important to protect against these diseases.
The Most Common Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Men
The most common sexually transmitted diseases in men that might turn into serious problems are as follows:
- HIV: The symptoms of HIV include fever, rash, and throat pain. HIV is identified through swollen lymph nodes, and ineffective treatments can cause serious infections and cancer.
- Gonorrhea: This disease causes a burning sensation when peeing and green or yellowish discharge from the penis. This causes testicular pain. Untreated gonorrhea might cause male infertility.
- HPV: The symptom of this disease is a rash around the penis. The infected region will have a wart.
- Hepatitis B and C: These diseases cause liver damage and cell inflammation. These diseases may cause liver cancer and cirrhosis.
- Herpes simplex (cold sore): The symptoms include irritation, pain, and reddish bumps or ulcers. The ulcers will crust.
- Chlamydia: The primary symptom is pain in the abdomen while peeing. Urethral discharge can be seen.
- Ureaplasma: This causes urinary tract infections. This might cause a urethral discharge and prostate infection. These diseases might have a negative impact on sperm count and quality, thus contributing to infertility.
- Trichomanias: This causes urethral discharge and irritation around the penis. There will be pain while peeing.
What are the Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Diseases?
STDs might manifest as different symptoms in every man. Different symptoms can be seen together. The symptoms of STDs in men are as follows:
- Genital warts,
- Skin rashes,
- Pain during sexual relationships,
- Muscle and joint pain,
- Nausea and vomiting,
- Pain and burning sensation while peeing,
- Pain and swelling around testicles,
- Urethral discharge.
It is important to monitor these symptoms after a sexual relationship and seek early treatment. Untreated STDs might cause serious health problems, such as infertility, cirrhosis, and cancer.
Which Tests are Applied for Sexually Transmitted Disease Diagnosis?
Men must visit a urologist/andrologist and women must visit an obstetrician and gynecologist for the diagnosis of STDs. A swab sample from the urinary tract of men is tested for microorganisms.
If necessary, prostate fluid can be analyzed under the microscope, and a rectal examination might be necessary. A blood test is required to check the antigen and antibody levels for virus-caused STDs. In general, STDs may not show any clinical symptoms. Therefore, screening tests are important. The screening tests for STDs are as follows:
- HIV combo/duo,
- Anti-HCV (hepatitis C),
- Ureaplasma and microplasma,
- Chlamydia antigen,
- HBsAG (hepatitis B),
- HSV type 2 IGG and IGM,
- Multiplex PCR test, which looks for 10 factors and helps save time as a comprehensive screening test.
What are the Treatment Methods for Sexually Transmitted Diseases?
The treatment methods for STDs depend on the diagnosis. Medication is often used, and other methods are as follows:
- Antibiotic treatment: This treatment is used for bacteria-related diseases, such as syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. A suitable antibiotic can treat these diseases.
- Antiparasitic medication treatment: Antiparasitic medication treatment might be preferred for treating parasite-caused infections, such as trichomoniasis.
- Antiviral medication treatment: Antiviral medication can be used to treat viral infections, such as HPV, herpes, and HIV. Although these diseases cannot be treated entirely, it is possible to keep the infection under control to prevent their progression.
Including the partner in the treatment regimen is important to prevent the repetition and spread of the infection.
Do Sexually Transmitted Diseases Cause Life-Threatening Risks?
If STDs are untreated, they may cause numerous health problems. Untreated men with urethritis and gonorrhea might experience infected or obstructed sperm channels. This obstruction is one of the causes of azoospermia. Hepatitis infection can cause health problems that may lead to liver failure. Untreated HIV causes the immune system to collapse and leads to numerous diseases. Some types of HPV can cause lesions on the penis. Therefore, the following groups are considered risk groups, and these people must be careful against STDs:
- People having unprotected sexual intercourse,
- People who previously had STDs,
- People who are sexually active,
- People with symptoms around the genital area,
- People with multiple partners,
- People who use common injectors (e.g., for drugs).
Ways to be Protected from Sexually Transmitted Diseases
The most effective, safe, and low-cost way to be protected from STDs is to have one partner. Other than that, ways to be protected from STDS are as follows:
- Use condoms throughout the entirety of sexual intercourse.
- Get vaccinated against hepatitis B and HPV.
- Get regular urological examinations.
- Choose safe places to get a tattoo or a shave.