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Common STD’s Among Men
The nation’s premiere health agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published an in-depth analysis in February 2013, looking at the severe human and economic burden of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the United States. CDC’s new estimates show that there are about 20 million new infections in the United States each year, costing the American healthcare system nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs alone. And yes, African American males are disproportionately represented. Here are five of the most common STI’s among men.
You get HIV from infected blood, vaginal secretions, semen, and breast milk. HIV is preventable. Early signs of HIV/AIDS infection can include flu-like symptoms, unexplained rashes, fungal infections in the throat, and unusual tiredness. As the disease progresses and the immune system is compromised, cancers and life-threatening infections can occur. Often, however, early infection with HIV/AIDS has no symptoms. An estimated one-quarter of Americans who carry the virus — 250,000 in all — don’t know they are infected. Get tested. Know your status.
About 2.2% of adult Americans are believed to carry chlamydia. Among sexually active men, the number is much higher. A 2003 study of young men entering a national job-training program found that 8.2% were infected with chlamydia. Among those aged 20 to 24 — the most likely to be whooping it up — the prevalence was even higher.
Although often symptomless in men, chlamydia can cause inflammation of the testicles, prostate and urethra. The consequences for women are more serious. Untreated infections are a leading cause of pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancies, and sometimes infertility. Chlamydia can be easily treated and cured with antibiotics. HIV-positive persons with chlamydia should receive the same treatment as those who are HIV-negative.
Herpes Simplex Virus-2 (HSV-2)
Good news on this bad guy: Herpes simplex virus-2, which can cause genital herpes sores, is on the decline, according to the latest numbers. Its presence, as measured in blood tests of adults age 49 and younger, has fallen a dramatic 19% in the past 10 years.
The Italians called it “the Spanish disease.” The French dubbed it “the English disease.” Among Russians, it was known as “the Polish disease.” Among Arabs? “The disease of Christians.”
No one wanted to claim it, and with good reason. The disease, syphilis, begins by causing crusty sores in private places. After hiding out in the body for years, it can emerge to drive people insane and then kill them. Along with gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), and HIV/AIDS, syphilis is one of the six most common STDs overall in the general population.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Experts are most concerned about women getting HPV because the virus is known to cause cervical cancer. But HPV is also known to cause genital warts and to increase the risk of cancers of the penis, anus and rectum in men. What’s more, millions of men carry the virus and risk giving it to their sexual partners. According to the CDC, more than six million Americans are infected with HPV every year. An estimated 8% of the general male population becomes infected with HPV annually.
The best protection against any sexually transmitted infection is to avoid sexual activity (abstinence), after that, it’s important to avoid sexual activity with an infected partner. Therefore getting tested for infections of all kinds is important as well as using latex condoms consistently and correctly. Partners should also talk to one another about their sexual history and any concerns about risk behaviors and infection.
Get the facts right here at Healthyblackmen.org, your local health department or even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.