STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases, are passed from one person to another via unprotected sex. Interestingly enough, these diseases are shunned by most cultures and the blame is pushed off on others. In France, for instance, syphilis is referred to as “the English disease.” Italians, on the other hand, call it “the Spanish disease”. Syphilis is only one of many other major STDs men have to worry about when choosing sexual partners and protection. The two others are Chlamydia, HIV and Gonorrhea.
The most frequent sexually transmitted diseases in the US is Genital Human Papillomavirus (HPV),followed by Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV/AIDS and then Syphilis.
Chlamydia is the most frequent sexually transmitted disease in the United States. In women, a chlamydia infection can result in pelvic inflammatory disease which is a major cause of infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain.
Syphilis is given so much attention by people all over the world due to its passive nature. It was not uncommon for people to live with syphilis for ten or more years before symptoms show such as crusty scabs on the genital area, mental degradation or even death. While cases of syphilis today are far less dramatic, they are still very real and very communicable. If syphilis is diagnosed in an early stage, it can be cured with antibiotics.
HIV/AIDS is one of the most highly publicized STDs in the world and came to head in the early 1980s at which time gay males were blamed for the introduction and spread of this STD. As science explored the true root cause of infection, they learned that heterosexual partners were just as capable of passing HIV to one another as gay couples. Soon the “gay plague” moniker was dropped and HIV (Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus) was adopted. Simply put, HIV is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).
In 2010 about 47,500 people became infected with HIV according to the Centers for Diseases Control.
The interesting thing about HIV and AIDs is its longevity in the body. Much of the condition deals with the health of T-Cells which play a major role in the immune system, protecting against infections. If T-cell counts remain high, people with the condition can live for 20 or more years without any major impact on their health. The trouble with this is the fact that many men fail to be tested on a regular basis and thus it is easy for men to pass the disease during unprotected sex. There is no known cure for HIV or AIDS.
Rounding out the top three STDs men have to worry about is gonorrhea and chlamydia. While condom awareness campaigns and a strong push for having only protected sex has become a part of the current culture, gonorrhea and chlamydia remain active and thriving. In 2005, there were more than 330,000 newly diagnosed cases of gonorrhea. That means more than 330,000 people chose to have unprotected sex. While this number is astounding, experts believe the real number of cases contracted (but not reported or diagnosed) is more near 650,000.
While syphilis, HIV/AIDs and gonorrhea, and chlamydia may be the most common STDs men contract, other common STDs contracted by men are Herpes Simplex and Human Papilloma Virus or HPV.
The use of condoms can help protect males from STDs 99% of the time. Being open with sexual partners about the need for STD testing is an even better choice. Men and STDs go hand in hand because condoms don’t fit on the vagina. Men have the tools to prevent STDs from passing from one person to another. While much of intimacy is based on trust, without medical validation no man should trust a partner’s word about STD infection. There are many cases when one partner has no idea they are carrying around a disease that could cause infertility, pain, scarring, and even death. Taking a chance is just not worth it!