Sexually transmitted infections or diseases (STIs or STDs) are infectious diseases caused by various micro-organisms (viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites) that are transmitted during sexual contact.1 Historically, these diseases were known as venereal diseases, named after Venus, the Greek goddess of love.2
Nowadays, the most common STIs are AIDS, genital herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, genital warts,...
AIDS is now one of the largest pandemics and has become a global health problem because the disease remains incurable.3 AIDS was identified in 1981, and the virus that causes HIV was isolated for the first time in 1983.3 Since then, the disease has spread in waves in different parts of the world.4 In 2009, according to World Health Organisation data, more than 33 million people were living with the HIV virus.5
The worldwide management of STIs shows enormous inequalities between the developed and developing countries.6 AIDS continues to take a heavy toll around the world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, and its incidence is increasing in some countries such as China, India and parts of Eastern Europe.4 Information campaigns on sexual risk behaviors, and awareness campaigns on use of condoms, remain the best prevention against STIs.7
In the 1990's, the fear of AIDS led to a decline globally and consistently cases of sexually transmitted infections in developed countries.2 But since the early 2000's, a decrease in prevention has resulted in the return of STIs, such as syphilis, that were previously thought to be extinct.2
1. Beers M.H. et al. The Merck manual of medical information. Merck research laboratories. Second home edition. 2003, 1168-1184.
2. Nelson A.L et al. Sexually transmitted diseases: a practical guide for primary care. Human Press. 2006 : 1-20.
3. Levin B.R et al. Epidemiology, Evolution, and Future of the HIV/AIDS Pandemic. Emerging Infectious Diseases. June 2001 ; 7 (3) : 505-511.
4. Fauci A.S. HIV and AIDS: 20 years of science. Nature Medicine. July 2003 ; 9 (7) : 839-843.
5. World Health Organization. Global summary of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. WHO and UNAIDS. December 2009 : available online.
6. Fathalla M.F. et al. Sexual and Reproductive Health: Overview. International Encyclopedia of Public Health. Available online August 2008 : 695-705.
7. Genuis S.J. et al. Managing the sexually transmitted disease pandemic: A time for reevaluation. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. October 2004 ; 191 (4) : 1103-1112.
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As a disease topic Men's Health covers a broad set of issues affecting men of all ages. Some of the issues requiring greater focus and more thorough dissemination of information amongst the healthcare community, are those that have the potential to go undetected in the early stages. Diseases where early detection and more regular health checks not only improve prognosis and efficacy of treatment outcomes, but also quality of life.
Erectile dysfunction is characterized by the regular or repeated inability to obtain or maintain an erection. Although not considered a part of the aging process, it is associated with certain physiologic and psychological changes related to age. ED is most common in men between 40-70 years of age. However incidence is also higher amongst men with certain medical conditions which include, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. ED can also be a warning sign/symptom of these underlying conditions. 1
Testosterone is an essential male hormone produced in the testes that plays a crucial role in the health and well being of male bodies. It is responsible for typical male sexual characteristics and is required by all men for a healthy life physically and psychologically.
Low testosterone, clinically known as hypogonadism, consists of decreased functional activity of the testes with diminished production and action of testosterone. Although there is a progressive decline in testosterone levels as men age, hypogonadism can occur in men of any age.
Men with low testosterone are also at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome and osteoporosis.
For your information, the Mens Health knowledge centre concentrates on the understanding, management and treatment of erectile dysfunction and hypogonadism. The website also provides extensive details on up-coming conferences as well as an extensive library of useful resource. You can also access the knowledge centre via www.menshealthfocus.com.
1. McVary, Kevin T. Erectile. In: Kasper DL, Braunwald E, Fauci AS, Hauser SL, Longo DL, Jameson JL et al., editors. Harrison's Internal Medicine. 16th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2005. p. 272-274
Hepatitis can be caused by many different things including viral infections, parasites, bacteria, chemicals, autoimmunity, drugs or alcohol. Of these, viral infection is the most common cause of chronic (long-term) hepatitis, which can lead to severe liver damage including cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV and HCV) are among the world’s most common infectious pathogens. It is estimated that 500 million people – 1 in 12 of the global population – are chronically infected with one or both of these viruses.1,2 The majority of these people live in the developing world and many of them are unaware that they are infected. Chronically infected patients are at increased risk of developing cirrhosis, hepatic decompensation and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which together account for more than 1 million deaths annually.3
The hepatitis B virus is a resilient virus present in all bodily fluids of infected individuals. It is resistant to breakdown and able to survive outside the body. It can be transmitted effectively through contact with infected bodily fluids in the same way as HIV. However, HBV is 50–100 times more infectious than HIV.
The primary objective of therapy for chronic HBV is to achieve control of viral replication and halt disease progression/improve liver histology. This will decrease pathogenicity and infectivity and thereby stop or reduce hepatic necroinflammation.
Chronic hepatitis C infection may result in severe liver damage leading to liver failure, HCC and death. As a consequence, therapeutic intervention can arrest, and perhaps even reverse, the disease before irreversible liver damage occurs.
1. World Health Organization. World Health Organization Hepatitis B Fact Sheet. 1998.
2. World Hepatitis Alliance. www.aminumber12.org
3. Lai CL, Ratziu V, Yuen MF, Poynard T. Viral hepatitis B. Lancet 2003;362:2089–94
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