What is the Difference Between an STD and STI and How Can You Prevent Them?

>> Wednesday, October 10, 2012

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Essentially, they represent almost the same thing. STD is an abbreviation for a Sexually Transmitted Disease and STI is an abbreviation for a Sexually Transmitted Infection. The best way to describe the difference between an STI and an STD is that you can have an infection without having any symptoms; however once symptoms appear, it becomes an STD.

STIs, like many infections,can be passed from one person to another, even when there are no symptoms. Examples include Herpes, HIV, HPV and Hepatitis. A mother can pass these to her infant through childbirth and breastfeeding when she is unaware of being infected. Other infections such as the flu, common cold and mononucleosis, can also be transmitted during sex from oral contact and kissing, but would not be considered to be 'sexually transmitted infections'.

It’s important to know that just having sex won't necessarily give you an STD or an STI. You have to have sexual relations with another person who is infected in order to receive the infection. Also, if a person is treated for a STD/STI and returns to the same sexual partner they can become re-infected if their partner has not been treated. So if you get an STD/STI it is important that your partner be checked and treated as well.

So how do you protect yourself from contracting an STD/STI?

Prevention through avoiding exposure is the best strategy for controlling the spread of STIs. We know that protected vaginal and anal intercourse carries the highest risks for the most dangerous sexually transmitted infections. Abstaining from sex is the only way to be 100% confident of avoiding Sexually Transmitted Infections but let's get real! If abstinence is not an option, then condoms, used properly, can reduce your risk  significantly. Condoms be used with each act of sexual intercourse. But even this practice not completely eliminate the risk of transmission of STIs. Condoms can fail, slip off, be punctured, or break down from spermacides or lubricants. In the best conditions, they provide great protection against HIV and Gonorrhea, but are less effective against Genital Herpes and Chlamydia. They provide no protection from HPV.

Nearly everyone has taken risks sexually, but please beware of the potential consequences which can impact your health and the course of your life. Many STDs can last a lifetime, put stress on relationships, cause sterility or birth defects and even lead to major illness and death. Know the risks! Sexually Transmitted Infections are not all transmitted the same way.

Unprotected Vaginal and Anal sex can lead to the transmission of:
-pubic lice, Hep B, HPV,HSV,HIV

Unprotected oral sex can lead to the transmission of:
-Hep B, HSV, HPV

Even sexual play without intercourse can lead to the transmission of:
-pubic lice

The most important thing to remember is to take care of yourself, and if you feel that something isn't right, make an appointment with your doctor.

Always be safe when it comes to your health.
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