Why more men than women are getting Covid-19

A doctor handles a Covid-19 test at the Professor Alejandro Posadas National Hospital in El Palomar, province of Buenos Aires, on September 18, 2020.

Photo credit: Ronaldo Schemidt | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Men should strive to inform themselves about factors that might make them vulnerable to communicable and non-communicable diseases generally and Covid-19 specifically.
  • Researchers have suggested the virus may have been found in seminal fluid but the significance of this finding is unclear.

As hopes soar that Kenya might finally be starting to flatten the coronavirus infection curve, the numbers have been showing that a disproportionate share of those infected are men.

More men have also succumbed to the disease, leading many to ask whether there are unique factors that put men at more risk of infection than women.

Dr Jeremiah Chakaya, a chest and lung health expert and one of the specialists with Doctors for Healthy Living (DHL), answers questions about these observed sex differences based on current scientific knowledge and his own experience. He is participating in a public information campaign known as Break the Chain being run by DHL in the face of Covid-19.

1. Is coronavirus hiding in the testes?

Researchers have suggested the virus may have been found in seminal fluid but the significance of this finding is unclear. Men have more difficulty clearing coronavirus following infection, which could explain their more serious problems with the disease.

2. What is causing disparities in disease prevalence between men and women?

When it comes to being included in scientific research, it is mostly males who have been studied. This disparity between biological sex differences in research has only recently been remedied. While there may be several reasons for choosing one sex over the other in research, the huge disparity that now exists is likely a major reason why we still know relatively little about sex differences in immunity, including the current Covid-19 pandemic.

3. Under these circumstances, what would be your general advise to men during this Covid-19 era?

Men should strive to inform themselves about factors that might make them vulnerable to communicable and non-communicable diseases generally and Covid-19 specifically.

This way, they can take needed measures to minimise the chances of infection, understand that their sex predisposes them to worse outcomes than women. They should, therefore, be more vigilant towards adhering to recommended preventive protocols.

For more information, send an e-mail to: Ask@doctors4healthyliving.org You can also send a text message to: Tel: 0722 818 689