#Featured #Features

STDs: Why men shun tests

By Kemi Olatunde


Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), can affect anyone, but the signs and symptoms may vary with gender.

Men must be aware of the signs and symptoms of common STIs, as they are less likely than women to get tested for these infections. With early treatment, people with STIs have an excellent outlook.

In this article, we look at some of the most common STIs in men and discuss the signs and symptoms, prevention methods, and available treatment options.

Signs and symptoms of STIs in men

It is pertinent to note that not all STIs have visible symptoms.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people around the globe contract more than one million STIs every day.

In some cases, an STI does not cause any visible symptom, so it is possible to have one without knowing it. People can also mistake any symptom that develops for those of other conditions.

Below, we discuss the most common STIs and the signs and symptoms that may occur in men who have them.


Chlamydia is a bacterial STI that an infected person can pass on by having anal, oral, or vaginal sex without a condom. Men can get chlamydia in the urethra, rectum, or throat.

People refer to chlamydia as a “silent” infection because carries are often unaware that they have it. The majority of chlamydia infections in men do not cause any symptom, but some men can develop symptoms several weeks after infection.

Common signs and symptoms of chlamydia in the urethra in men include discharge from the penis, pain when urinating, burning or itching around the opening of the penis, pain, and swelling in one or both testicles.

Chlamydia infections in the rectum are less common, but they do occur. Although these infections usually have no symptom, they can cause rectal pain, bleeding, and discharge.

On rare occasions, chlamydia can infect the epididymis, which is the tube that carries sperm from the testicles to the vas deferens. This can cause fever, pain and in rare cases, fertility issues.


Reacting to this, Dr. Akinyemi Momoh says healthcare providers usually collect urine samples to test for chlamydia in men, but they may use a cotton swab to get a sample from the urethra instead.

Related News  ODSG moves to end open defecation

“Curing chlamydia with oral antibiotics is relatively straightforward. Treatment consists of either a single dose or a seven-day course of an antibiotic. Repeat infections are common, so it is wise to get another test for chlamydia after completing treatment,” he explained.


Herpes is an infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Two types of herpes simplex virus affect different parts of the body:

Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV–1), also called oral herpes, causes cold sores in and around the mouth.

Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV–2) almost always spreads through sex without a condom and causes genital herpes.

“Many people who have herpes will not have any symptoms, and those who do may have a difficult time identifying them.

” Symptoms typically appear two to–12 days after infection. Sometimes, herpes blisters are so mild that they can resemble insect bites, ingrown hairs, or razor burn.

“Common signs and symptoms of herpes in men include painful blisters or open sores in or around the mouth, blisters on the genitals, rectum, buttocks, or thighs tingling, itching, or burning sensations of the skin around the blisters, sore muscles in the lower back, buttocks, and upper legs, fever, loss of appetite,” Momoh disclosed.


He explained that healthcare providers can use the following tests to help diagnose herpes:

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. This test examines the individual’s DNA to see if they have herpes. It can be useful when people do not have any visible symptom.

Blood tests.

A cell culture. Healthcare providers use this test when someone has visible sores around their genitals. The test involves collecting a sample of the fluid inside one of the sores.


“There is no cure for herpes, and people may experience recurrent outbreaks over time. Treatments focus on managing the symptoms and extending the time between outbreaks,” he warned.


On the issue of gonorrhea, he explained that a doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat it.

“Gonorrhea is an infection with the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhea. Gonorrhea can affect the urethra, rectum, or throat. People can transmit these bacteria through vaginal, anal, or oral sex without a condom.

“Most men who have gonorrhea show no symptoms. When gonorrhea in the urethra does cause symptoms, these usually appear one to 14 days after infection, he emphasized.

He said further that common signs and symptoms of gonorrhea in men include Painful urination, white, yellow, or gray discharge from the urethra, pain in the testicles, itching and soreness in the anus, painful bowel movements, and bloody discharge from the anus.

Related News  Naira: ‘Why prices of goods remain high’

He stated that gonorrhea can also be treated with antibiotics. He recommended dual therapy with ceftriaxone and azithromycin saying that medication will stop the infection, but it will not repair any damage that the disease causes.

He expressed that healthcare providers are becoming increasingly concerned about the rise of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea, which will make successful treatment much more difficult, if not impossible.


A nurse, Omolola Akintuyi explained that bacteria are also responsible for syphilis, which people transmit through vaginal, anal, or oral sex without a condom.

She warned that men who have sex with men (MSM) have a higher risk of contracting syphilis. Almost 70 percent of primary and secondary syphilis diagnoses in 2017 were in MSM.

Syphilis is also known as “The Great Pretender” because its symptoms can resemble those of other diseases. Symptoms usually appear 10–90 days after infection, with 21 days being the average.

The symptoms of syphilis progress in stages known as primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary. Each stage has its own unique set of symptoms that can last for weeks, months, or even years.

The symptoms of primary syphilis include: A small, firm sore where the bacteria initially entered the body, usually on the penis, anus, mouth, or lips, Sores can also appear on the fingers or buttocks, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, groin, or armpits, Secondary syphilis can cause the following signs and symptoms: Skin rashes on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet large gray or white lesions in the mouth, anus, armpit, or groin, fatigue headaches, a sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, hair loss and muscle aches.

The latent, or “hidden,” stage of syphilis, during which there are no visible symptoms, can last for several years.

Tertiary syphilis is very rare. It can cause severe health complications that affect multiple organ systems. The symptoms of tertiary syphilis include meningitis, stroke, dementia, blindness, heart problems, and numbness.


Healthcare providers are likely to run blood tests or examine some of the fluid from a sore to check for syphilis.


Akintuyi explains that a healthcare provider may recommend an antibiotic called benzathine benzylpenicillin to treat primary, secondary, and early latent syphilis. People who are allergic to penicillin will need to use a different antibiotic, such as doxycycline or azithromycin.

Related News  Drinking cold water after eating mango does not lead to instant death – Experts

She said that although antibiotics will prevent the infection from progressing, they cannot repair any permanent damage resulting from the infection.

*Human Papillomavirus (HPV)*

She said that in the prevention of the disease, Men and boys under 26 years of age can have the HPV vaccination.

She described Human Papillomavirus (HPV) as a group of related viruses, comprising more than 150 strains.

HPV is one of the most common STIs. According to the CDC, HPV mainly affects people in their late teens and early 20s.

Most men who contract HPV never develop symptoms, but some may notice symptoms several months or even years after the initial infection. The most common symptoms of HPV in men are warts in the mouth or throat and genital warts, which are small bumps around the penis or anus.


She expressed that HPV is unusual among STIs as there is a vaccine that can prevent it. There are two FDA-approved HPV vaccines, which are called Gardasil and Cervarix. These vaccines are effective against HPV types 16 and 18, which are high-risk strains because they are responsible for causing certain types of cancer.

The health personnel recommended that children aged 11 to 12  receive the HPV vaccine to protect them against complications of the infection and that older boys and men up to the age of 26 get the HPV vaccine if they did not receive a vaccination when they were younger.


“At present, there is no routine screening to check men for HPV, and there are no reliable HPV tests. However, a healthcare provider may be able to make a diagnosis based on any genital wart that is present.


“Most cases of HPV resolve without treatment and do not cause any health complications. However, if HPV does not go away and a person does not receive treatment, it can cause health problems, including certain types of cancer.

“There is no approved treatment for HPV, but it is possible to treat the symptoms and complications. For example, men can use topical and oral medications to treat genital warts,” she said

STDs: Why men shun tests

ODSG reopens OSCCA, matriculates 51

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *