Ask the doctor
This quarter, Perspectives' editorial board member Harvey B. Simon, M.D., answers your questions about prostate health
Q. I had a nerve-sparing prostatectomy a year ago and can usually get an erection. Do my girlfriend and I still need to use condoms to protect against sexually transmitted diseases even though I no longer ejaculate when I reach orgasm?
A. In a word, yes. Even if a man doesn't ejaculate, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can still be passed from one partner to another during sexual activity. Some diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis, are transmitted when infected vaginal or urethral secretions come into contact with surfaces that secrete or contain mucus — the vagina and cervix in women and the urethra in men. That means a man who has had a prostatectomy can become infected if, for example, vaginal secretions from a woman with chlamydia enter his urethra.