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Difference Between STD And STI

Published: June 11, 2009
Dear TeenHealthFX,
is it true that they changed STD sexually transmitted diseases to STI sexually transmitted infections?
Signed: Difference Between STD And STI

Dear Difference Between STD And STI,

 

Certain health professionals and health organizations are beginning to use the term Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) over the term Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) because

·         the term STI is a broader one (see the definition below)

·         certain infections may be curable so they want to make a distinction between an STI and STD

·         the term “infection” carries less of a stigma than the word “disease”

However, the term STD is not an outdated one and is still used.

 

Here is the basic difference between the two terms:

·         An infection simply means that a germ, virus, bacteria, or parasite that has the potential to cause disease or illness is present inside a person’s body. Someone with an STI will not necessarily have symptoms or signs that some kind of pathogen is in the body, and might not even feel sick. Someone with an STI can unknowing pass on an infection – if they do not have any signs or symptoms, they are probably not aware they are carrying an infection and may not take the proper precautions of protecting their partner.

 

·         A disease means the infection is actually causing the person to feel sick or presents with signs and symptoms alerting the person that something is wrong. Someone with an STD should be aware that there is some underlying medical issue based on certain signs, symptoms, or from feeling ill.

 

If you have any further questions about STDs and STIs, or you are concerned you may have an STD or STI, please speak with your doctor or an adolescent medicine specialist. If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-6475 for an appointment or contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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