Essential health checks for men in their 20s

Written by denise schipani
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Essential health checks for men in their 20s
(Rupert King/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Testicular self-exam

What, never touched ‘em before? Kidding aside, you need to know what normal feels like, and now’s a good time. You might be surprised to find out that the risk for testicular cancer actually peaks in your 20s.

It’s wise to do a self-exam probably monthly, but talk to your doctor first to get a “feel” for what you’re looking for. Most men don’t know, which can lead to a lot of anxiety and unnecessary testing.

Vaccine booster

You’ll probably need a few shots in the arm in this decade, in part because some immunity from childhood vaccination has worn off, and in part to match your lifestyle. Get a tetanus booster, and ask about a Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria and acellular pertussis), which also includes a diphtheria vaccine. If you travel abroad, get a vaccine for Hepatitis A, and if you didn’t get it as a child, you also need Hep B. Finally, if you’re still in Uni, be sure you’re vaccinated against meningitis.

STD check, including HIV

It is highly recommended that everyone get screened at least once for HIV, but definitely get checked if you’ve had unprotected sex with multiple partners; have sex with men; have injected drugs; or just to play it safe. In general with STDs, men have a slight advantage over women (if you could call it that), because if you contract an STD like gonorrhea, symptoms tell the story – so treatment, not so much screening – is the name of the game.

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