Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding STDs (especially STIs) is still pretty severe in today’s society.
This instinctive reaction causes many people to stay quiet about a potential or actual STD, not getting treatment for fear of offending someone or being judged for living a promiscuous lifestyle.
STIs and STDs are terms that are often used interchangeably. However, they are different conditions.
STIs are sexually transmitted infections; STDs refer to sexually transmittable diseases and infectious diseases that can transfer through sexual contact but are not caused by a microbe or parasite.
Let us discuss some differences between STI and STD so you may better understand the dissimilarities of both terms.
What are STIs?
STIs are sexually transmitted infections. STIs are infections that spread through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
Most people think of STIs as ‘sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), but they’re infections that can be passed on through any sexual contact – not just vaginal or anal sex. This means you can get an STI from oral sex if semen or vaginal fluid enters your mouth.
Some people call it a sexually transmitted infection (STI) instead of an STD to emphasize that some infections don’t always cause symptoms and can be passed on by people who don’t know they have them.
People with an STI may not realize they have one because many don’t show any signs or symptoms at first. Some STIs cause symptoms but can be mild and go unnoticed for months or even years without treatment.
Signs and Symptoms of STIs
Symptoms of STIs can vary, depending on the type of infection. Some signs are more common in women than men, while others are more common in men than women.
Common symptoms of STIs include:
- Pain during sex (dyspareunia).
- Itching and soreness around the genitals (genital herpes).
- Sores on or around the mouth, vagina, or anus (molluscum contagiosum).
- Unusual vaginal discharge (trichomoniasis).
What are STDs?
STDs are a group of diseases spread by sexual contact. Some STDs can be cured, but others can cause severe health problems and even death.
Some STDs go away on their own or can be treated with medicine. But some STDs last a lifetime and cannot be cured. They can cause serious health problems like infertility (inability to have children) and cancer.
More than 30 types of STDs affect both men and women. Some of them, like HIV, are serious infections that may lead to AIDS if left untreated. Other common STDs include genital herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis, and trichomoniasis.
STDs often have no symptoms in the early stages of infection, so people may not know they have an STD until they begin having problems with their health or during pregnancy (if it is transmitted from mother to baby).
Signs and Symptoms of STDs
The most common symptom of a sexually transmitted disease is genital sores or blisters. These sores are typically painful and may be accompanied by a burning sensation when urinating or ejaculating.
Other common symptoms include:
- Painful urination.
- Fever and chills (usually due to bacterial infections).
- Swollen lymph nodes in the groin area (due to bacterial infections).
- Testicular swelling and tenderness (due to bacterial infections).
What Is The Difference Between An STI And An STD?
STI (sexually transmitted infection) and STD (sexually transmitted disease) are used interchangeably in the medical world. The only difference between them is that an STI is a non-viral infection while a virus causes STD.
But what are the top 5 differences between these two terms? Let’s find out.
- An STI can be cured with medication, but an STD cannot be cured completely.
- STIs can be treated, but not all of them go away completely with treatment.
- If you have an STD, you may have no symptoms or only mild symptoms, so it’s possible that you don’t know that you have one!
- STIs can be passed on through unprotected sex (vaginal intercourse without a condom), oral sex without protection, or anal sex without protection from getting semen or vaginal secretions into your urethra (the tube that carries urine from your bladder to the outside of your body).
- STIs can affect anyone — no matter what gender or sexual orientation they may be!
The difference between an STI and an STD is not just a matter of semantics – it also has implications for treating these diseases. Some people assume that if they have been diagnosed with an STI, it’s too late to do anything about it.
But this isn’t true! You must know what your options are so that you can make informed decisions about your health.
Can an STI become an STD?
Yes, but it’s not common.
It’s important to understand that not all STIs are considered STDs, and not all STDs are considered STIs. Some infections can be transmitted through other means, such as blood contact or skin-to-skin contact between areas of broken skin.
These infections aren’t generally STDs because they aren’t spread through sex or similar behaviors.
Testing Positive for an STD or STI
If you’ve tested positive for an STD or STI, it’s important to remember that your sexual health is still very much in your control. If you are diagnosed with an STI or STD, there are ways to manage it and minimize its impact on your life.
Some people who test positive for an STD or STI feel they have no one to talk to about their diagnosis. But the truth is: You do!
Your doctor, nurses, and medical staff are there to support and help you through this difficult time — even if that means being someone who listens while you try to make sense of everything that’s going on.
You should visit your doctor for checkups if you’re looking for more information about what it means when someone tests positive for an STD or STI.
In addition, many online websites offer helpful information about STIs, testing procedures, treatment options, and valuable tools like forums where people can chat about their experiences dealing with STIs.
Treatment of STIs and STDs
Treatment for STIs and STDs depends on the type of infection, where it is located, and how long you have had it. Treatment involves medicine you take at home or using a medical device. You may also need to go to the doctor’s office or hospital for treatment.
Here are some ways to treat STIs and STDs:
1. Antibiotics (For Bacterial Infections)
Antibiotics are the most common treatment for STIs and STDs because they kill bacteria and prevent them from multiplying inside the body. Antibiotics can be taken orally or injected directly into the bloodstream.
The standard antibiotic treatments for gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and trichomoniasis are azithromycin (Zithromax) and doxycycline (Vibramycin), ceftriaxone (Rocephin), and penicillin G. Some patients may also need to take an antibiotic called metronidazole (Flagyl).
2. Antiviral Medications (For Viruses)
Antiviral medications can be used to treat some STIs. These include acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), and valacyclovir (Valtrex).
These are available as oral medications and can be used to help prevent breakouts of herpes, genital warts, and shingles. They must be taken at the first signs of an outbreak to prevent it from worsening.
3. Vaccines (To Prevent Infection from Certain Bacteria or Viruses)
There are no vaccines to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV) or herpes simplex virus (HSV). However, some vaccines can help protect against other infections spread through sexual contacts, like hepatitis B and hepatitis A viruses.
Spermicides are chemical agents that kill sperm and prevent pregnancy. Spermicides should always be used with a physical barrier (such as a condom or diaphragm) during sex, because they only work if they come into contact with sperm before entering the vagina or uterus.
They are most effective when inserted up to 30 minutes before intercourse. They must be used with another form of birth control such as condoms or diaphragms to prevent pregnancy.
5. Lubricants (To Prevent Dryness During Sexual Intercourse)
Lubricants can help decrease friction during sex, reducing the risk of skin tears that may allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Some lubricants also contain spermicide, which kills sperm and helps prevent pregnancy.
Lubricants should not be used with latex condoms because they can break down the condom’s latex surface and make it more likely to tear or break during use.
What STI/STD Are Treatable Vs. Preventable?
There are many types of STIs and many ways to prevent them. Some STIs can be treated with antibiotics, but others can’t. Some are curable, while others are not.
How can you tell the difference? It depends on your STI type and your doctor’s recommendations.
When to Use an Urgent Care?
Urgent care centers are like University Urgent Care that treat non-life threatening injuries and illnesses. They’re usually open longer hours than regular doctors’ offices and can treat patients on weekends and holidays.
University Urgent Care is beneficial when you need to be seen immediately but don’t want to go to a hospital emergency room.