STD, STI, STI, STD…What’s the difference?
When we hear discussions about sexual health, the terms STI and STD are thrown around a lot. Well using acronyms does wonders for convenience, but falls short on explaining the significance of these words. STI stands for Sexually Transmitted Infection. Bacteria, viruses, and other parasites can enter the body as a result of sexual contact with another person who carries these pathogens (fancy word for germ). People can pass these pathogens around without even knowing it, because in many cases there are no symptoms. These pathogens get into the body and multiply in numbers, but do not yet cause any visible or recognizable symptoms.”Infection” most accurately describes the situation where sexual partners do not have symptoms and may not be aware that they have an infection. Depending on the strain of the bacteria, virus, or protozoa, these infections can cause physical damage, or a disease.
Most people with a Sexually Transmitted Disease will know it, because symptoms arise.There we have it. Not all STIs cause STDs, but a STD is classified as a STI.
Still confused? Check out these great resources with information on both STIs and STDs:
The Medical Institute: http://www.medinstitute.org/public/132.cfm
World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs110/en/