One major sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can cause low testosterone levels in men is HIV/AIDS. To understand why this is the case, it is first important to know a little about growth hormone (GH). GH is responsible for promoting development within children and assists in the regulation of body composition and metabolism in adults. HIV/AIDS leads to GH deficiency, which results in reduced muscle mass, higher fat around the abdomen, depression and fatigue. Growth hormone functions through insulin which the liver produces to promote fat breakdown and muscle mass.
Why GH resistance occurs in HIV positive people
GH resistance occurs when the tissues don’t respond properly to hormones. There also appears to be a relationship between lower GH secretion and lipodystrophy. Recombinant growth hormone (which is genetically engineered), has been demonstrated to assist those suffering from HIV wasting. In a 1996 study conducted by M.D. Morris Schambelan on 178 men who were HIV positive, those who took 0.1 mg of GH per body weight noticed lower fat, increased muscle mass and better exercise performance. Donald Kotler, another doctor that worked at St. Luke Roosevelt Hospital, discovered that taking as little as 4 mg per day of GH for thirty six weeks lowered visceral fat for 142 test subjects who were HIV positive.
Imbalanced sex hormones
Imbalances in the sex hormones are one of the leading causes of endocrine disorders within those who are HIV positive. Hypogonadism results in lower testosterone in men and lower estrogen in women. This produces symptoms such as anemia, fatigue, lower fertility and depression. Women may also display disruption of their menstrual cycle. Sex hormones play a key role in body composition, muscle tissue synthesis and the distribution of fat and muscle. Testosterone also protects bones from osteoporosis and osteopenia.
Research suggests that HIV/AIDS is the most dangerous STD in men who have lower testosterone levels. In fact, severe Hypogonadism is common in those that have reached the advanced stage, and they will experience both reduced cell counts and weight loss. Men who are not receiving anti-HIV therapy typically display the lowest levels of testosterone, while men who undertake antiretroviral drug regimens manifest higher levels.
Since testosterone levels can decline precipitously around the age of forty in normal men, those that are HIV positive and in the same age range will experience steeper declines. This is why using STD testing at home before engaging in sexual activity is so important.
How altered testosterone influences body composition
A connection has also been found between altered testosterone and changes in the body composition. Significant weight loss often leads to reduced gonadotropins which are responsible for directing testosterone production; this in turn results in reduced testosterone levels which cause wasting. Wasting is the phenomenon where an individual will experience deterioration of their muscle mass and reduced strength. They may also suffer from appetite loss, which will exacerbate the condition. Other symptoms that one might experience include lower sex drive, depression and fatigue.
Why diagnosing hypogonadism can be challenging
Hypogonadism can be challenging to diagnose since normal levels will vary from one man to another. To get an accurate diagnosis, multiple types of testosterone should be measured. Usually, testosterone is connected to the carrier proteins within blood, with only two percent being unbound. A complete testosterone test will measure both the unbound and bound hormone. While a STD test kit can help you identify a variety of infections, free testosterone tests will usually only measure bioavailable or unbound testosterone.
The standard complete testosterone range is from 250 to 1200 nanograms, while free testosterone exams will range from 100 to 200 nanograms. Testosterone levels between 250 to 400 nanograms are borderline low; men at this level may have functional consequences. Testosterone depends heavily on age and younger men will almost always have higher levels than their older counterparts.
When performing an endocrine diagnosis, it is essential to evaluate not just the absolute hormone levels, but the balance that exists between them. For instance, should a man start to convert extra testosterone into estrogen, his ratio of estrogen/androgen may shift which could cause him to develop feminized characteristics like enlarged breasts even when his testosterone levels stay within a range that is considered statistically acceptable. Additionally, testosterone levels within a standard range may still be inadequate if the usual levels are higher. This is why many experts advise getting baseline measurements immediately after an HIV diagnosis has been made, so that later measurements can be compared to it.
How to treat low testosterone
Men suffering from low testosterone may be treated using synthetic androgens or supplements. There is also testosterone enanthate, which can be injected intramuscularly every two to four weeks. Although these methods are quite affordable, cyclical injections result in hormone blood levels that fluctuate, which will peak after administration and then fall over time. Some men also use transdermal patches, which provide a steady amount. Testoderm is a type of patch which is placed on the scrotum daily, and there are other types which can be placed on the abdomen, back, thigh or upper arm. Some doctors also prescribe steroids, and while some are anabolic (meaning they build muscle), others provide testosterone benefits free of undesired virilization.
Testosterone creams, gels and pills are also available, but tablets are not recommended as they could create liver toxicity. Men who inject testosterone directly may notice an increase in their body weight but it will be in the form of lean mass rather than fat. In the July 1998 edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine, it was reported that HIV infected men who were hypogonadal and suffering from wasting successfully acquired muscle mass after undertaking testosterone therapy for six months. They also noted a healthier appearance and better quality of life. Energy levels improved, incidents of depression were alleviated and their libido increased.
Regular STD testing will prevent infection
Testing with myLAB Box’s kits can be done within five minutes and you don’t have to drive to a clinic, wait in line or schedule appointments. You will also be reminded when to take another test so you don’t have to manually keep track.
Research shows that as many as 1/3 of U.S. citizens have an STD, but are not aware of it. Many are reluctant to get tested because doing so is inconvenient. Making an appointment at a traditional lab is stressful and time consuming, which is why many choose to skip the exam altogether and place trust in their partners. A lot of people assume that they and their partners are clean if they don’t manifest any symptoms, but did you know that many STD carriers are asymptomatic? Studies show that as many as eighty percent of STDs don’t show any visible signs. This means that the only way to be certain you and your partner are clean is by taking a std test at home.
How does myLAB Box differ from other tests?
Engaging in sex with someone new is often exhilarating, yet scary at the same time. Did you know that under half of Americans between the ages of 18 and 44 have never received STD testing at home? This means that the likelihood of catching something if you have multiple sex partners is very high.
There are a number of things which make myLAB Box stand out. First, it can be ordered online. You don’t have to worry about visiting a lab or making appointments. Additionally, each kit has been designed in such a way where you can collect and then mail the sample in just a few minutes. Free shipping is also offered to and from the lab, so you’ll save a bit of money.
This test kit was designed in collaboration with the nation’s top labs to verify the results. This means that the accuracy of your test sample will be equal to anything you get from a clinic or hospital. You can then share them with your partner to give them peace of mind.
What happens if you test positive?
Another feature which elevates our online STD test from the rest is free consultations. You can speak with a telemedicine doctor who will offer you guidance and prescriptions without ever having to go outdoors. We also recognize the importance of confidentiality and discretion, which is why we utilize HIPAA based data storage which always ensures your records will be sealed and safe from prying eyes, and you can access them whenever you need to.
Don’t take chances when it comes to your health. Once contracted, many STDs will remain for life, as they are incurable. The best that you can hope once infected is to get treated. Trust in a test which is certified in every state and which is on the cutting edge of disease test research. Remember, sex should always be done safely, and the best way to accomplish that is by getting tested regularly so that you can have a wonderful sex life without endangering others.
In this article
- Why GH resistance occurs in HIV positive people
- Imbalanced sex hormones
- How altered testosterone influences body composition
- Why diagnosing hypogonadism can be challenging
- How to treat low testosterone
- Regular STD testing will prevent infection
- How does myLAB Box differ from other tests?
- What happens if you test positive?