Men’s Health Week 2017: Men Get STDs Too

Mens Health Week 2017

People often associate STDs as a women’s health issue. If this is the case, then how come men account for over 90% of all primary and secondary cases of syphilis in the United States? And how have the rates of chlamydia among men increased over 3% since 2011? Although STD rates are higher among women, anyone who is sexually active can be at risk for contracting an STD. And that means you, gentlemen!

To address these sexual health concerns among men, besafemeds celebrate Men’s Health Week (June 12-18). It’s no secret that we believe sexual health is important to everyone’s well-being. Therefore, throughout National Men’s Health Week, we encourage men to take responsibility for their sexual health and get tested regularly for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

One of the most common STDs among men is chlamydia. Chlamydia is a bacterial STD that gets transmitted from an infected person to their partner during oral, anal, or vaginal sex. Over 1,401,906 cases of chlamydia were reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2013. Although many people never experience symptoms, men are more likely to notice unusual symptoms such as penile discharge. Other symptoms of chlamydia include pain while urinating and swollen testicles, and many men experience these symptoms after several weeks of becoming infected.

While men are just as likely to be affected by STDs as women, the rates are shockingly high among gay and bisexual men. In 2014, gay and bisexual men accounted for nearly 83% of syphilis cases. Likewise, more than half of all HIV infections occur among gay and bisexual men, and they are at the highest risk for this specific STD. Many people are describing this as an epidemic, as gay men continue to experience the highest HIV rates compared to any other group or demographic in the country. Homophobia and stigmatization put gay and bisexual men at risk for mental health issues that can affect whether or not they seek help from a health professional or have access to health services.

The good news is, more men have taken the initiative to go out and get tested. According to Planned Parenthood, their number of male patients has doubled in the past 10 years, and they’ve seen a 99% increase in male patients from 2003-2013!

Sometimes it’s easy to forget how important sexual health is in both women AND men. Just like regular exercise and taking vitamins, getting tested for STDs is just as important for our health! It’s important to know the facts and lead by example to encourage those around you to get the treatment and preventative care they need. Don’t leave men out of the picture when talking about sexual health. 

To learn more about Men’s Health Week and become involved in the conversation, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

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