Question: What are the key things to know about STD (sexually transmitted diseases) testing for men?
Answer: STD testing is very important for men who are sexually active. This is done to help to treat potential complications associated with these diseases and to prevent their spread. There are no routine screens for men who are sexually active and practice safe sex -- that is, having protected sex.
However, if you are a man who has sex with other men, there are some routine annual screens that should be done. We test those men for syphilis, for HIV/AIDS, and for gonorrhea and chlamydia. However, if you develop any kinds of symptoms in your genital area -- that is, sores on the penis or urethral discharge or any pain or swelling -- you should see a doctor for some testing. The six most common STDs or sexually transmitted diseases are: gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes simplex or genital herpes, human papilloma virus infection such as genital warts, and of course HIV/AIDS. Some of these can be screened for; many others are not screened for because there are no good screening methods. There are people with human papilloma virus infections who have no idea that they are infected, and therefore you can pass this infection on without knowing it. There are people who have genital herpes who also have no idea that they have the infection and can pass that on. So the safe bet is safe sex -- that is, practice protected intercourse if you are involved with multiple sex partners.