Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs in Men) (cont.)

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Hepatitis C

What is hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is liver inflammation (hepatitis) that is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The HCV causes acute and chronic viral C hepatitis. While it is primarily spread by exposure to infected blood, such as from sharing needles for drug use, piercing, tattooing, and occasionally sharing nasal straws for cocaine use, people who have sex with prostitutes are at a increased risk for Hepatitis C. Most infected people have no symptoms, so a delayed or missed diagnosis is common. In contrast to hepatitis B, where chronic infection is uncommon, the majority of people infected with hepatitis C develop chronic (long-term) infection. As is the case with hepatitis B, chronically infected individuals are infectious to others and are at an increased risk of developing severe liver disease and its complications, even if they have no symptoms.

How is hepatitis C infection diagnosed?

Hepatitis C infection is diagnosed by using a standard antibody test. The antibody indicates an exposure to the virus at some time. Thus, the hepatitis C antibody is found in the blood during acute hepatitis C, after recovery from the acute hepatitis, and during chronic hepatitis C. Individuals with a positive antibody test can then be tested for evidence of virus in the blood by a test called the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which detects the genetic material of the virus. The PCR test rarely is needed to diagnose acute hepatitis C, but sometimes can be helpful to confirm the diagnosis of chronic hepatitis C. Patients who test positive for Hepatitis C should be referred to a hepatologist for evaluation and possible treatment.

Human herpes virus 8 (HHV-8)

What is human herpes virus 8?

Human herpes virus 8 is a virus first identified in the 1990s that has been associated with Kaposi's sarcoma and possibly with a type of cancer called body cavity lymphoma (a tumor that arises from the lymph tissue). Kaposi's sarcoma is an unusual skin tumor that is seen primarily in HIV infected men. Human herpes virus 8 has also been isolated in the semen of HIV infected individuals. Because of these factors, the possibility has been raised that human herpes virus 8 is a sexually transmitted infection. Several important issues related to the role of human herpes virus 8 as a disease-causing agent have not yet been fully determined, such as whether human herpes virus 8 actually causes disease, how it is transmitted, what diseases it might cause, and how to treat these disease(s). Recent reports have shown that in children and men who have sex with men, a new (acute) infection with human herpes virus 8 can lead to an illness characterized by fever and rash, and/or to enlarged lymph nodes, fatigue, and diarrhea.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/16/2014

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Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Men - Genital Herpes Question: Do you have genital herpes? How did you catch it, and what were your symptoms?
Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Men - Prevention Question: Are you sexually active and not in a monogamous relationship? How do you try to prevent catching STDs?
Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Men - HPV Question: Have you or your partner been diagnosed with HPV (genital warts)? Please share your experience.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Men - Chlamydia Question: Were you ever diagnosed with chlamydia? What were your symptoms and treatment?