Most of the time, when it came to sex talk, you would hear about STD or STI. These two were mainly interchanged, and you probably took no notice of it. Over the years, you might have started wondering if there is a difference between the two. If you go online, you will probably see STI more than you used to which will make you more confused.
Technically, there is no major difference between the two. However, you will find that most physicians prefer using STI than STD. Although they seem the same, here are some differences you can get from the two:
Infection and Disease
An STI is an infection that has not fully developed into a disease. Once the infection evolves n to a disease, it can then be called an STD. This is even more confusing. What is the difference between an infection and a disease?
When the body gets exposed to bacteria, a virus or microbes, the first step of the disease is an infection. When you have an infection, it is when the number of microbes is multiplying in your body, but you have no physical symptoms yet. However, infection is referred to as a disease when there are physical signs and symptoms that start disrupting normal body structure and function.
A good example of the two is if someone has the HPV virus and shows no symptoms, they are said to have an infection. However, if the symptoms evolve to a point where it is now something serious like cervical cancer, it can be called an STD.
STDs have been around for a while which makes them sound more serious. However, when you hear about STIs, they have less stigma around them. Also, since most STIs do not present any symptoms, most people do not know if they are suffering from them. An example for this is asymptomatic chlamydia that does not show any infections. Once the symptoms start manifesting, the person now has an STD. This will help them seek treatment if they have bacterial infections since they can be cured.
Symptoms of STDs and STIs
As you have seen earlier, STIs have no noticeable symptoms. However, STDs have some symptoms you can look out for:
- Strange discharge from genital areas
- Blisters around the genitals
- Uncommon growths around the genitals
- Pain while passing urine
- Persistent itching or tingling sensation around the genitals
- Pain in the pelvis or abdomen for women
- Irregular periods
- Pain during sex and bleeding afterwards
- Pain in the testicles
Different STDs have different symptoms, and for some, they do not see the symptoms until it is too late. For some, you can see flu-like symptoms or rashes. For instance, for syphilis, there are painless sores.
However, scabies and pubic lice can also be spread sexually but are not sexually transmitted infections. If you are infested with them, you will experience a rash, scratching and possibly blood on your genitals due to the scratching.
While they appear different, STIs lead to STDs. This means you need to protect yourself from getting STIs and get tested whenever you have unprotected sex. There are different places you can get tested. You should not wait until the symptoms manifest so you can get tested. If you are unsure about your health, it is better to do it sooner rather than later. It is easier to treat STIs than STDs.