By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com October 21 2009 10:00 AM ET

Numerous studies have shown that non–AIDS-related illnesses are far more likely to be serious or fatal for HIVers today than ailments linked with the virus itself. So for men, this means that five key medical tests are more crucial than ever before.

Cardiac tests. These include blood-pressure tests, cholesterol and triglyceride measurements, blood-sugar screenings, and waist measurements (a waist size larger than 40 inches dramatically increases heart disease risks).

Testicular exam. All men younger than 40 should regularly examine themselves and have a doctor do the screening during an annual physical to look for signs of testicular cancer.

Prostate screenings. All men 50 and older should receive an annual rectal exam and a prostate-specific antigen test. If your family has a history of prostate cancer or you are African-American, screenings should start at age 45.

Colonoscopy. Regular screenings for early signs of colon cancer should start at 50 -- and even younger for men with a family history of the disease.

Skin exam. Men of all ages -- particularly those with a history of sun exposure or sunburns -- should be checked head to toe for early signs of skin cancer, the most common form of cancer among American men.