Reproductive tract infections are infections of the genital tract. Like women, men can have similar reproductive tract infection. However, in men, sexually transmitted infections are much more common than those that occur by overgrowth of normally present bacteria in the genital tract.
Some STDs are Caused by Bacteria:
- Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV)
Some STDs are Caused by Viruses:
- (Human Papillomavirus which can cause Genital or Anal Warts)
- Hepatitis A, B, C
- HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus—the virus that causes AIDS)
Other than this, Public lice (“crabs”) are parasitic insects found in the genital area of humans. Scabies is an infestation of the skin with the microscopic mite. These are basically skin infections but are considered STD as you can acquire it from your infected partner.
How Do I Know If I Have an STD?
Many STDs don’t have symptoms you can see or feel. Some of the symptoms may include-
- Bumps or sores around your penis, anus, or mouth.
- Discharge from your penis or anus.
- Rash on your body.
- Burning sensation/pain when you urinate.
The only way to know for sure if you have an STD is to have regular testing for STDs.
Are you at risk for getting STDs?
Anyone who has sex can get STDs! However, certain behaviors such as not using condoms, multiple partners increase the risk of getting an STD. According to the CDC, USA sexually active gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) are at greater risk.
STDs are spread through sexual contact with someone who has an STD. Sexual contact includes oral, anal, and vaginal sex, as well as genital skin-to-skin contact.
Some STDs—like HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea—are spread through sexual fluids, like semen. Other STDs, including HIV and hepatitis B, are also spread through blood. Genital herpes, syphilis, and human papillomavirus (HPV) are most often spread through genital skin-to-skin contact.
Can they be treated?
Bacterial infections can usually be cured with antibiotics. If you are under treatment for STDs it is extremely important to finish all of your medicine, even if you feel better. Your partner should be tested and treated, too. Also remember that you are at risk for the same or a new STD every time you have unprotected sex (not using a condom) and/or have sex with someone who has an STD.
Viruses such as Herpes and HIV usually can’t be cured. Your doctor might give you some medicine or other treatment that keeps you from getting sick or helps control your symptoms.
For lice and scabies lotions/pills are available to treat either.
How can you protect yourself?
It is good idea to get to know someone before having sex with them and talk honestly about STDs and getting tested.Use a condom correctly EACH AND EVERY time you have sex.Limit your number of partners. You can lower your risk for STDs if you only have sex with one person who only has sex with you.
Be smart! Think before getting into things that might cloud your judgement and lead you to risky behavior- such as having unprotected sex!
Vaccines: There are vaccines available that protect you against Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and some forms of HPV. Hepatitis B vaccines are a part of our National Immunization Schedule so you have probably been vaccinated after birth. HepA and HPV guidelines vary from country to country so you may consult your doctor for further details.
Get tested: If you think you’ve been exposed to a partner with STD, visit your doctor. Knowing your status will help you protect yourself as well as your partner.
Aprateem Mukherjee. Resident, Radiology, Medical College, Kolkata
* Disclaimer:This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical condition, consult your doctor immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment.