Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) — also called sexually transmitted infections (STIs) —are transmitted during sexual contact.
They can be transmitted through bodily fluids during any type of sexual activity, including skin-to-skin contact, anal sex, and oral sex.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 110 million Americans are currently living with an STD, and 20 million new infections occur each year. It’s estimated that 1 in 4 people will have an STD at some point in their lives.
The most common STDs that affect men are:
- Herpes Simplex Virus-2
Signs and Symptoms of STDs
Some STDs can be easily cured, whereas others may cause lifelong, debilitating effects. It’s important to get tested regularly, because not all STDs have warning signs. If you’re feeling (or seeing) any of these symptoms, visit your Bellin Health primary care doctor immediately for an STD test:
- It burns when you urinate
- You have white, green, or yellow discharge from your penis
- Your testicles are painful or swollen
- You have itching around genitals or rectum
- You have blisters, sores, warts or bumps on your genitals, mouth, or rectum
- There’s a foul or fishy odor
Am I at Risk?
Plain and simple — anyone who is sexually active is at risk for STDs. But they’re preventable, so remember your ABCs.
Abstinence – this is the only way to 100% prevent STDs.
Be faithful – monogamy with a sexual partner who doesn’t have STDs
Condom – wearing a condom should be part of your wardrobe, especially if you have multiple sexual partners.
Diagnosis and Treatment of STDs
You should let your physician know if you’ve engaged in oral or anal sex. When you’re tested for STDs, your doctor will perform a quick exam:
- Examine and swab your genital area
- Examine and swab the inside of your mouth
- Give you a blood test
Some STDs are curable, whereas others are not. This is easiest to understand by dividing STDs into two categories:
- Viral: STDs like genital herpes, genital warts, Hepatitis B and HIV are caused by viruses and cannot be cured.
- Bacterial: If they are detected early, STDs like gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis are relatively easy to treat with antibiotics.
If you’ve tested positive for an STD, it’s really important to tell any past and future sexual partners, otherwise you’ll put them at risk for contracting, and passing on the disease.
Call a Bellin Health Primary Care Physician
Get the guidance you need from a Bellin primary care physician.
Call Bellin Health On-Call 24/7 at (920) 445-7373 for more information and to make an appointment.