Male infertility: A public health issue caused by sexually transmitted pathogens

Fabrícia Gimenes, Raquel P. Souza, Jaqueline C. Bento, Jorge J.V. Teixeira, Silvya S. Maria-Engler, Marcelo G. Bonini, Marcia E.L. Consolaro*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations


Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are caused by several pathogens, including bacteria, viruses and protozoa, and can induce male infertility through multiple pathophysiological mechanisms. Additionally, horizontal transmission of STD pathogens to sexual partners or vertical transmission to fetuses and neonates is possible. Chlamydia trachomatis, Ureaplasma spp., human papillomavirus, hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses, HIV-1 and human cytomegalovirus have all been detected in semen from symptomatic and asymptomatic men with testicular, accessory gland and urethral infections. These pathogens are associated with poor sperm quality and decreased sperm concentration and motility. However, the effects of these STD agents on semen quality are unclear, as are the effects of herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Mycoplasma spp., Treponema pallidum and Trichomonas vaginalis, because few studies have evaluated the influence of these pathogens on male infertility. Chronic or inadequately treated infections seem to be more relevant to infertility than acute infections are, although in many cases the exact aetiological agents remain unknown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)672-687
Number of pages16
JournalNature Reviews Urology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 11 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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