Take Charge of Your Sexual Health

What you need to know about preventive services

M
Home > What Are Preventive Sexual Health Services? > Preventive Sexual Health Services for People with a Penis > Screenings

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 their 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 at least once a year for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, regardless of condom use. Depending on what types of sex you have, you could have chlamydia and gonorrhea infections not only in your genitals, but in your butt/anus or throat. You may need additional screening to find these infections, including throat or anal swabs. 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 have not had sex. You should be tested at least once a year if you have unprotected sex, have had an STI or have a partner who has had an STI, 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 all men who have sex with men and those who share drug injection equipment (including needles or syringes), especially if they have not been vaccinated.

For all others, you should get tested if you are at increased risk, meaning you have unprotected sex, have had an STI or have a partner who has had an STI, have multiple partners, share drug injection equipment (including needles or syringes), or have a partner who engages in any of these behaviors.

If you have a partner or family member who has hepatitis B, have multiple partners, or you 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 America) or were born in the United States to parents from one of those countries.

Hepatitis 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 may 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 cdc.gov/hepatitis/hbv/index.htm. 

Hepatitis C Screening

Those ages 18 to 79 should be screened once for hepatitis C.

Many “baby boomers” have hepatitis C and don’t know it. 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 cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/index.htm.

Gential Herpes

Genital herpes is a very common sexually transmitted infection (STI). In fact, more than one in six people (ages 14 to 49) currently have it. You can get genital herpes during anal, oral, or vaginal sex, or by skin-to-skin contact in the genital area with an infected partner. If you have herpes in your mouth, you can spread it to your partners genitals during oral sex.

Genital herpes is caused by two different viruses – HSV-1 and HSV-2. Most people with genital herpes have no symptoms or very mild symptoms. And, many don’t know they are infected. If you do have symptoms, herpes often appears as blisters or sores on or around your genitals, rectum, or mouth. Typically, as time goes on, people have fewer outbreaks, which are shorter and milder.

Routine screening for genital herpes is not recommended. However, testing is recommended for people:

A health care provider may diagnose herpes by: 1) simply looking at your symptoms 2) taking a sample from a sore and testing it 3) doing a blood test. Talk with your health care provider about what they recommend for you.

While there is no cure for herpes, effective medications are available that can prevent and shorten outbreaks, and reduce the risk of giving it to your partner(s). By avoiding sex during outbreaks and using condoms or dental dams every time you have sex, you can also reduce risk.

Intimate Partner Violence

If your partner is sexually, verbally, or physically abusing you, or forcing you to do things against your will, talk to a health care provider mental health professional. They can refer you to a program or mental health professional who can help you. Love is Respect (https://www.loveisrespect.org/) and the National Domestic Violence Hotline (https://www.thehotline.org/) also have resources, phone lines, and online chat support to help.

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.