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Infections of the male genitalia

Infections of the male genitalia includes infection of the epididymis (epididymitis), infection of the testis (orchitis), infection of the prepuce or foreskin (posthitis), infection of the glans penis (balanitis), infection of the skin of the penis and infection of the urethra (urethritis).

Some of these infections are sexually transmitted while others are not.

Genital wart

Genital warts or condylomata or condylomata acuminata or venereal warts is a highly contagious infection of the skin of usually the penis and also the scrotum. It is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). It is spread by direct skin-to-skin contact during oral, genital, or anal sex with an infected partner. Genital warts are the most easily recognized sign of genital HPV infection. After contact with an infested person, it may appear within weeks or months later.

The incidence of genital wart in Singapore is 27.8 per 100,000 population in 2006 according to the statistics published in the Sunday Times, Singapore, 4 November 2007. 

They can be treated with topical anti-viral or immunomodulating cream or destroyed and sterilised with laser. In rare cases they may extend into the urinary tract. This will require inspection of the urinary tract with a telescope. Any genital wart seen is then destroyed with a laser. Lesions on the skin surface may also be removed by electrocautery or freezing with liquid nitrogen.

The human papilloma virus (HPV) has been implicated in the cause of cancer of the cervix in women. To protect women against this risk factor, a vaccine against HPV has been developed and is now available. This vaccine is recommended for all women who are sexually active.

Genital herpes

Genital herpes is caused by Herpes Simplex virus. It is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the world. The incidence in Singapore is 25.7 per 100,000.  

Herpes simplex Virus infection may begin as a rash or blisters on the skin. These may appear days or weeks after contact with an infected person. The blisters can burst and leave ulcers that can be extremely painful. These ulcers then heal over a period of weeks.

There are 2 types of Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1) is responsible for cold sores, which are ulcers around the mouth and lips that recur in winter in those affected living in temperate climates. Type 2 Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-2) is the herpes simplex virus causing genital herpes. Both herpes simplex viruses have the ability to lie dormant in the body in between infections and surface at opportune times leading to a relapse. These relapses are usually less severe.

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) can be treated with anti-viral medication. During an infection, the person should refrain from sexual intercourse. If one is not sure if there is a relapse, a condom should be used to reduce the chance if transmission. Although this is not fail proof, it lowers the risk of spread. Sufferers should be able to have a normal sex life, taking necessary precautions.

Non-Specific Urethritis

This is an infection of the urinary tract leading from the bladder to the outside. The incidence locally in 2006 is 30.1 in 100,000. It may appear from days to weeks after exposure. The person may experience pain on passing urine with or without discharge from the urinary tract. Sometimes there may be no symptoms at all. The cause may be bacterial. The most common of these is Chlamydia trachomatis. The treatment is a course of the appropriate antibiotics which is usually in the form of oral medication. It is important to treat this as Chlamydia infection in women may lead to inflammation of the reproductive tract resulting in infertility.






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