Information About Sexually Transmitted Diseases (Stds) In Men

Sexually transmitted diseases are prevalent, affecting millions of men and women in the UK every year. Most men who contract STDs do not know that they are infected because most STDs do not show symptoms. Even when men are asymptomatic for these STDs, the diseases still cause harm to their health.

In a few cases, symptoms may be present as the following.

  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Abnormal penile discharge with a foul smell
  • Pain while ejaculating
  • Burning or painful sensation during urination
  • Blisters, sores or bumps on the penis

Common STDs affecting men

The following STDs are the most prevalent in men.

Chlamydia

  • Symptoms

Discharge from the penis, pain in the lower abdomen, and while urinating.

  • Treatment

You can treat chlamydia by taking antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. The infection should clear off within a week of taking the right antibiotics

  • Facts to note

Most infected persons do not show symptom and make experts believe that most cases of chlamydia infections are not reported.

Genital herpes

  • Symptoms

The symptoms of genital herpes include ulcers that tend to leave scabs, pain and itching, tiny red-coloured or fluid-filled bumps.

  • Treatment

Doctors prescribe antiviral medications such as valacyclovir and acyclovir to reduce and treat outbreaks as there is no cure for the infection.

  • Facts to note

You can spread herpes even when your symptoms and sores are not present

Human papillomavirus (HPV), and genital warts

  • Symptoms

Itching and small swellings around the penis (genital warts), and cauliflower-shaped warts

  • Treatment

You can treat genital warts using topical medications, or remove genital warts surgically if the medication does not clear off warts.

  • Fact to note

The HPV test is currently not available for men

Gonorrhoea

  • Symptoms

Yellowish or greenish penile discharge, testicular pain, and burning feeling while urinating

Treatment

Doctors recommend dual therapy or a two-regime medication

  • Fact to note

If you do not treat gonorrhoea, it increases your chances of contracting HIV

HIV

  • Symptoms

Swollen lymph nodes, rashes, fever, sore throat and these symptoms worsen as the infection progresses

  • Treatment

No medication can cure the infection, but the doctor may prescribe antiviral medications that prevent the virus from overwhelming the body.

  • Fact to note

Experts believe that the risk of contracting HIV is higher in men who have sex with men because of the additional risks of anal sex.

Trichomoniasis

  • Symptoms

Discharge from the penis, pain while urinating, and itching around the penis

  • Treatment

A dose of antibiotics can cure trich.

  • Fact to note

A good number of persons usually get re-infected within the first three months after treatment.

STD prevention in men

Any sexually active man can contract STDs, irrespective of his race, sexual orientation or age. You can prevent STDs by following the right steps.

However, the only sure method of STD prevention is abstinence. You can engage in safe sexual practices to protect your partner and yourself and also reduce the risk of contracting STDs. You are unlikely to contract an STD if you practice safe sex.

You can contract STDs through oral, anal, and vaginal sex, so ensure your safety during any sexual activity. Condoms serve as protection for anal and vaginal sex, and you can use dental dams during oral sex.

Most people think that they cannot contract an STD during oral sex, but this is untrue as you can get gonorrhoea, syphilis, and herpes from oral sex.Anal sex has a high-risk factor for some STDs. These STDs are likely to affect men who have sex with men.

Ensure that you take your sexual health seriously irrespective of your sexual orientation by getting a routine STD test.

Getting STD tests

Carrying our regular STD tests is beneficial to your sexual health, especially for those who are not in a mutually monogamous long-term relationship. Safe sexual practices help reduce the transmission of STDs, but it does not offer full protection. Carrying out an STD test is the only way to know if you have an STD or not. 

Your doctor may not carry out STD checkup during your annual physical screening, endeavour to ask your doctor for STD test. Even when the doctor order tests for STDs, it may not be a full STD screening, so ask for the specific STD test you need.

If you think you have gotten an STD or you are showing symptoms for an STD, contact your sexual health clinic immediately. If you have unprotected sex, visit a testing centre, especially if you think your partner is infected. The STD test may require you to produce urine while others require the healthcare provider to take your blood sample. You can get your result within a few days.

Men currently do not have an HPV test, but women can get a Pap smear to check for HPV. HPV has different strains, and some strains elicit no symptoms, while others may lead to genital warts.

To know the type of STD test you need, you have to discuss your risk factors and sexual history with your doctor. You should also let your doctor know if you need the test for preventive screening. Ensure you tell your doctor whether or not you engage in receptive anal sex because anal sex increases your risk of having some STDs that need special testing. If you engage in anal sex, you will need an anal Pap smear to check for signs of HPV that could cause anal cancer.

STD complications in men

Untreated STDs in men could be minor, causing issues like pelvic pain or inflammation of the eye. Sometimes, the complications could be life-threatening or lead to long-term harm. Life-threatening complication includes:

  • Arthritis
  • Infertility
  • Rectal cancer due to HPV infections
  • Heart disease

STD treatment in men

The treatment received depends on whether the infection is a viral or bacterial one.For bacterial STDs like chlamydia, syphilis or gonorrhoea, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics such as metronidazole.

If it is a viral STD like hepatitis or herpes, your doctor will prescribe antiviral medications which you may need to take daily to prevent the outbreak of the infection. This treatment is referred to as suppressive therapy.

You can get HPV vaccine to reduce the risk of contracting the virus, but if you are already infected, you cannot be cured.

Your doctor may prescribe a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) pill if he/she believes you are at risk of contracting the virus. The medication helps fight off the virus if it enters the body and also treats its symptoms and possible complications. You can take the pill daily and practice safe sex to prevent HIV.

Takeaway

In men, sexually transmitted diseases are more prevalent than most people think. If you believe you have an STD or you are showing symptoms of an STD, endeavour to carry out a test for the STD as soon as you can.

When you visit your doctor, be open about your sexual history and describe your symptoms properly to help the doctor know the right course of treatment and test you need. Feel free to talk about your sex life.

For more information about STDs in men, do not hesitate to contact STI Clinic London on 020 1783 0649 or to book an appointment for STD testing.