How Are STIs and STDs Different?

How Are STIs and STDs Different?

Whether your doctor tells you that you have a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or a sexually transmitted disease (STD), it’s not a happy day. Nobody wants either, even though some STIs and STDs can be cured. Both STIs and STDs are on the rise though, with about 26 million new cases in the United States alone each year.

What’s the difference between them? And should you act differently, depending on whether you have an STI or STD?

Rafiq Mian, MD, an expert and discreet OB/GYN, helps you understand how STIs and STDs affect your own health and the health of your intimate partners. He and our team at Mian OB/GYN & Associates in Silver Spring, Maryland, are here for you, whenever you need treatment or testing for STIs and STDs or to answer any questions you have.

What an STI is

An STI is an infection that’s transmitted through sexual or intimate activity. You don’t actually have to engage in sexual intercourse to contract some STIs. Some types of viral infections — including herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV) — can be transmitted through intimate touching, such as fingering or oral sex.

If you have an STI, you don’t necessarily have any symptoms. In fact, you may be shocked to learn you have an STI because you didn’t notice any changes or symptoms. Some STIs can be cured with a course of antibiotics, whether they’re in symptomatic or asymptomatic stages.

Curable STIs include:

Currently incurable STIs include:

Depending on your age, you may be able to prevent HPV infection with a vaccine. Even incurable STIs can be managed, so it’s important to determine if you have one as soon as possible to prevent it from developing into an STD.

What an STD is

An STD is the physical manifestation of an STI. You may only realize that you have an STI after your bloodwork comes back. The infection is present in your body, but it hasn’t yet caused symptoms.

If you have an STD, however, you probably already suspect you have it, even before you get screened for STIs and STDs. An STD is the disease that results from the infection. All STDs start with an STI. 

The most common STDs are:

An HPV infection is also the most common cause of cervical cancer, which is why all sexually active women should have regular Pap tests to catch that potentially deadly disease in an early, treatable phase. 

What to do if you have an STI or STD

Whether you have symptoms or not, if you have an STI or STD, you can pass the infection to an intimate partner during sex play or intercourse. You must be more vigilant than ever about practicing safer sex techniques, including using condoms every time you have intercourse, to avoid infecting your partner or spreading your own infection.

If you have a curable STI, we either give you a course of antibiotics to kill the bacteria that causes it or antiviral medications to kill the virus behind your STI. Some incurable STIs — such as herpes, Hepatitis B, and HIV — can also be managed with antiviral medications.

Curing or managing your STI or STD keeps you safer and keeps your intimate partners safer, too. If you have an STI or STD, you may wish to join a support group to help you manage the emotional impact of your infection and help you adjust to possibly new behaviors and routines.

Keep ahead of your sexual health with regular testing for STIs and STDs at Mian OB/GYN & Associates, and always let us know if you notice new or unusual symptoms. Call us or use our online booking form today

You Might Also Enjoy...

Is Vaginal Dryness Normal After 50?

You used to love sex, but now you dread it. Instead of pleasure, you feel pain. You may also notice that your vulva is drier and even smaller than it used to be. Now that you’re 50 or over, do you have to accept vaginal dryness as normal? No.

Five Encouraging Facts About Routine Pap Smears

A Pap smear is one of the simplest tests you can have to ensure that you stay healthy and catch cervical cancer in its earliest, most curable phase. If you’re wondering whether a Pap test is worth your time, following are five reasons why it is.

How Are Estrogen and Progesterone Different?

If you’re in perimenopause or are already postmenopausal, you may consider hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to alleviate symptoms and prevent bone loss. But should you only take estrogen? Or just progesterone? Or both? How are they different?

How to Heal Well From Your C-Section

After you’ve had a C-section, you have to baby your body as well as your baby. C-sections are major surgery, so it’s important that you give yourself every opportunity to heal well and fully. Here’s how to do that.

Understanding Your Birth Control Options

If you’re sexually active but don’t want to become pregnant, you need birth control. Although “natural” contraception exists, it’s notoriously ineffective. Barrier methods, hormones, implants, and IUDs are far better choices.

I'm Embarrassed to Get an STD Test: What's Involved?

If you’re sexually active, part of maintaining your health is testing regulaly for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), whether you have symptoms or not. Even though you may feel embarrassed to ask for or get a test, they’re both simple and fast.