Yes, There Is A Difference Between STIs and STDs!

STI stands for Sexually Transmitted Infection. STD stands for Sexually Transmitted Disease. The terms are related; but they are different.

Here’s the difference

Simply put, STI is an infection that is not yet turned into a disease. STD is a disease that develops after you get an infection.

For example, somebody with Human Papillomavirus (HPV) may not show symptoms, but he or she is carrying the virus. So, this person has an STI. Later, if this person develops cervical cancer due to HPV, now he or she has an STD, as cancer is a disease. So, the infection has turned into a disease.

The same applies to people with gonorrhea or Chlamydia. They may later get Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).

To put it in other words, infection is the usually the first stage of a disease. You get infected when microbes enter your body and begin to multiply. Due to the multiplication, body functions or structure may get disrupted or distorted, which is accompanied with signs and symptoms. This is now a disease.

So, you don’t get an STD directly. It starts with an STI. It ends up with an STD. 

Why do doctors prefer to use the term “STI”?

STD has a social stigma attached to it. On the other hand, STI has no such negative connotation. So, doctors prefer to use the latter. This is a modern term to denote sexually transmitted illness. Disease has a negative effect on a patient. It may also swirl their thoughts into the depressive state. They think of themselves as “diseased.”

On the contrary, having an infection still sounds that you have a hope of treatment. Although this is more psychology than the truth, it is found to work, according to doctors. Hopelessness often interferes in healing. Faith helps in healing.

Clear out the myths now

A lot of myths and “half-baked” knowledge about sexual health exist in the world. This creates a scarier situation for somebody who happens to have contracted an STI. He or she may not talk it out to their doctor due to the social stigma attached. Some even think they are going to die due to STD!

When in doubt ask the doctor. Never suffer in silence. This is the worst thing to do to yourselves. STDs caused by bacteria are curable, while STDs caused by viruses can be managed. This is the age of advanced medical science. Almost no disease, today, is completely out of control.

The following myths are busted:

Myth #1: PAP test is an STD test.


The truth is: PAP test or PAP smear is a screening test for cervical cancer. It testes the presence of cancerous or pre-cancerous cells on cervix.   

Myth # 2: A mosquito bite can infect you with HIV.


The truth, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is: mosquitoes and other insects don’t spread STDs even if you live in an area where STDs are rampant. 

Myth #3: You can get herpes from sitting on a toilet seat.


The truth is: Herpes is caused by skin-to-skin contact. 

Myth #4: Body piercing and tattooing are absolutely safe.


The truth is: you can get HIV by sharing tattoo equipment or using one that is not sterilized properly. Such equipment are supposed to be used once only. 

Myth #4: Oral sex is safe.


The truth is: you can get STI by oral sex. Suppose your partner has oral herpes and he or she performs oral sex with you, your genital area can get infected. 

Myth #5: Certain condoms can be reused.


The truth is: all condoms are single-use products. Never reuse them no matter what. 

Myth #6: It is okay to use oil-based lubricants on condoms.


The truth is: oil-based lubricants can break down the latex of condom. This lets STI microbes to pass through the condom. If you wish to use lubricants, use water soluble ones or plain water. 

Crux: If you or your partner “feel” or doubt that you may have contracted an STI, you must not hesitate or delay in consulting your doctor. Please consider the above truths and endeavor to lead a healthier, happier life by playing it safe and having fewer numbers of sexual partners. A single sexual partner is best.

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