For Men: Seven ways STDs affect men and women differently

Seven ways sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) affect men and women differently:

1. Bacteria and viral infections can penetrate the thin lining of the vagina more easily than the penis.

  • This puts a woman at a higher risk for STD infections.

2. Women can be infected with common STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea and have symptoms that disappear.

  • Even though symptoms disappear, the infection still remains, putting both partners at risk.

3. Men are more likely to notice unusual symptoms, such as discharge.

  • Women often confuse STD symptoms, like an unusual discharge with other problems like a yeast infection.

4. Genital lesions caused by herpes or syphilis can occur inside the vagina and go unnoticed.

  • Men are more likely notice lesions or sores.

5. Men infected with STDs rarely experience long-term complications.

  • Untreated STDs in women can cause serious health complications and infertility.

6. Pregnant women can pass STDs to their babies.

  • This can result in stillbirth, preterm birth, blindness, deafness and even brain damage.

7. Men are often silent carriers of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

  • HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer in women and is the most common STD contracted by women.

Because of these differences, it is extremely important to receive STD screening before becoming sexual active with your partner. Using a condom can lower your risk of contracting an STD. Abstinence is the only way to 100 percent protect yourself from an STD.

Information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.