Why is Regular STI Testing Important for Male Fertility?

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Male fertility plays a crucial part in adhering to a couple’s dreams of having a child one day. Both male and female fertility is an intricate and complicated process and can be easily affected by various factors. Some of these factors are common knowledge to society, while others are not.


What is a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)?

A STI is an infection that can be spread through sexual contact, including vaginal, oral or anal. These infections consist of different bacteria, viruses and even parasites. Not only do these infections affect partners through sexual contact, but some of them can be transmitted from a mother to an unborn child during pregnancy or breastfeeding.


Most Common STIs

While there are various STIs globally, some of them are more prevalent due to their extremities on the human body.


Bacterial Infections


Syphilis is a bacterial STI that starts as a painless sore on the genitals. Usually, it can develop into a secondary stage where a rash breaks out and eventually spreads to the whole body. When syphilis is left untreated it can affect other body parts such as the brain and cause damage to reproductive organs. Luckily, syphilis can be treated by receiving an injection of a penicillin-containing antibiotic.



Gonorrhoea is also a bacterial STI and is usually present in warm and moist areas such as the urethra, throat and anus. Some men might experience symptoms such as pain when urinating and a yellow discharge from the penis. Swelling and pain in the testis can also occur. This STI can also cause damage to reproductive organs if it is not treated and also has the option of being treated with a course of antibiotics.



Another common bacterial STI is chlamydia. This STI is also transmitted via sexual activities and if left untreated can cause damage to the reproductive system and lead to infertility. Some men might experience a burning sensation when urinating, penile discharge and lower abdomen pain. Chlamydia can also be treated, usually with an immediate dose of an antibiotic.


Viral Infections

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that can be transmitted via sexual contact or direct blood contact. This virus causes severe liver infection and patients can present with dark urine and jaundiced symptoms. Although hepatitis B can not be cured, there is a preventative vaccination that can be taken. There are also options for taking oral anti-viral medications which will not kill the virus, but slow down the progression thereof and improve an individual’s life.


Herpes Simplex Virus

The herpes simplex virus is a viral infection that can be transmitted via unprotected intercourse. This virus can be contracted without any sexual intercourse and is not just an STI. Sometimes people get HSV early in life and can present with cold sores around the mouth. Genital herpes has symptoms of sores on the genitals and surrounding areas. Patients with herpes sores around the mouth can use anti-viral creams to target the sores and relieve pain. Patients with genital herpes can use anti-virals to slow down the progression of the virus. If genital herpes is left without any treatment it can cause damage to reproductive organs and eventually cause infertility.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

One of the most common Viral STIs is HIV. This virus is transmitted via sexual contact and bodily fluids. Studies have shown that men with HIV have lower testosterone levels and it is also associated with a decrease in semen volume and sperm motility. Unfortunately, this disease is not curable but treatment options include anti-viral medications that can slow down the progression of the disease.


Regular STI Testing

It is recommended to go for regular STI testing especially when a male has more than one partner or when a male and his partner are struggling to conceive. Testing on a regular basis can help to maintain sperm quality and fertility and also prevent a male partner from contracting an undiagnosed STI. It is also very important as a test can diagnose an STI and the faster the treatment of an STI starts the better the chances are of maintaining fertility.

Where on the other hand, if men do not test for STIs and they have an STI without knowing it, it can cause irreversible effects on a male’s reproductive health that can eventually lead to infertility.



Prevention for any STI is always better than treating it. Men can prevent getting STIs or transmitting them via the use of condoms. Although condoms do not always prevent the transmission it is important to be educated on the topic. It is also recommended that men and women get preventative vaccines to protect themselves against certain viral STIs that cannot be cured.


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