A new study by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has discovered potential impacts COVID-19 can have on male fertility and sexually transmitted diseases.
During autopsies of six men who died of the coronavirus, researchers found some of the men had impaired sperm function and later found the virus had invaded testis tissue.
"We also identified the presence of the virus in a man who underwent a testis biopsy for infertility but had a previous history of COVID-19," Dr. Ranjith Ramasamy, associate professor and director of reproductive urology at the Miller School, said.
"So the patient tested negative and was asymptomatic after having COVID-19 but still showed the presence of the virus inside the testes."
Researchers say it makes sense that the testes would be targeted by a COVID-19 infection. They say the virus has an affinity for angiotensin-converting enzymes receptors, which are in many of the body's organs, like the kidneys, lungs, heart and testes.
The study went on to question how much of the virus needed to be present in the testes to be detected in semen, which can be sexually transmitted.
It's not out of the ordinary for a virus to affect a man's fertility. The mumps has been shown to enter the testes, cause inflammation and impair sperm production.
More research must be conducted in order to fully understand how testis tissue responds to COVID-19, but researchers say this current study is a step forward in better understanding the virus.
For now, it's suggested men of all ages who have COVID-19 and experience testicular pain should make an appointment to speak to a urologist.