Take Charge of Your Sexual Health

What you need to know about preventive services

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Screenings

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Men who have sex only with women: You might consider being screened for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis if you have unprotected sex, have multiple partners, or have a new partner and do not know her health status, even if you do not have any symptoms.

Men who have sex with men: If you are sexually active, you should be screened for at least once a year for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Men who have sex with men often have chlamydia and gonorrhea infections in their rectums and throats but don't know it. Depending on the kinds of sex you have, you may need additional screening to find these infections. You should be screened every 3-6 months if you have unprotected sex, have had an STI or have a partner who has, have multiple partners, use illicit drugs, or have a partner who engages in any of these behaviors.

HIV Testing

Men who have sex only with women: You should be tested for HIV at least once as part of your routine health care, even if you think your partner only has sex with you. You should also be tested if you aren't currently having sex, but you have had sex in the past. You should be tested at least once a year if you have unprotected sex, have had an STI or have a partner who has, have multiple partners, share drug injection equipment (including needles or syringes), or have a partner who engages in any of these behaviors.

Men who have sex with men: You should be tested for HIV at least once a year. You should be tested every 3-6 months if you have unprotected sex, have multiple partners, use illicit drugs, share drug injection equipment (including needles or syringes), or have a partner who engages in any of these behaviors.

Hepatitis B Screening

Regular screening for hepatitis B is recommended for men who have sex with men and those who share drug injection equipment (including needles and syringes), especially if they have not been vaccinated. If you have a partner or family member who has hepatitis B, have multiple partners, or have had an STI, you should be screened as well. Others who should be screened include those who were born in a country where hepatitis B infection is common (Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands, parts of South American) or were born in the United States to parents from one of those countries.

Hepatits B is a virus that attacks the liver. It is spread through infected body fluids, including blood and semen. Infection can either be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). People with hepatitis B man not look or feel sick, but can still infect others. Chronic hepatitis B infection can often be treated, but not cured. To learn more, visit www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/B.

Hepatitis C Screening

All men born between 1945 and 1965 should be screened once for hepatitis C. Many “baby boomers” born between those years have hepatitis C and don’t know that they do. They may have engaged in risky behaviors or received a blood transfusion or organ transplant before national screening for the virus was in place. Most people become infected with hepatitis C by sharing drug injection equipment, including needles or syringes. If you inject illegal drugs, you should be screened periodically for hepatitis C. You should also be screened if you've been in prison, have HIV, or have ever injected illegal drugs.

The risk of getting hepatitis C from having unprotected sex is low, but it is still possible. Men who have sex with men and have multiple partners and/or engage in unprotected rough sex (specifically sex that can result in bleeding) are at higher risk.

Hepatitis C is a virus that attacks the liver. It can cause severe illness and permanent liver damage. However, it can often be cured, especially if the infection is detected early. To learn more, visit www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/C.

Intimate Partner Violence

If your partner frequently threatens you, constantly accuses you of doing something you didn’t, tries to control what you do or where you go, refuses to have safe sex, or hits, slaps or kicks you, talk to a health professional. Although your provider will probably not ask you about abuse in your relationships, if you let them know they can refer you to programs that can help you.

If You Are Transgender 

Many of the preventive services in this guide will help you stay healthy. Although finding a provider who can address your unique healthcare needs may be challenging, it is important to get tested regularly for HIV and other STIs, and vaccinated against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and HPV (if you’re eligible). Use condoms and practice safer sex to protect you and your partners. For more in-depth guidance, see the resources listed at the end of this guide.