STD or STI…Is There a Difference and What Is It?

Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and herpes have forever been referred to as STDs. Recently, there is a new term, STI (sexually transmitted infection) that can also describe chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and many more. So the question is can they be used interchangeably and the answer is NO. A STD is a sexually transmitted disease, which simply stated is a disease that is acquired through sexual transmission. A disease is a pathogen, either virus or bacteria, exhibits symptoms of any kind that signifies an active infection. A STI is an infection acquired by sexual transmission but unlike an STD does not exhibit symptoms of any type. The disturbing part about a STI is that a person may very well be contagious and have no clue of their infection and can spread it to their sex partner, which can then develop into a STI or progress into a STD. The difference between the two is minimal but very important.

Education on the subject matter is greatly needed to help understand the difference. The term STI lessens the harsh stigma associated with these types of “diseases” but the seriousness is the same. It is better to find out you have a STI rather than a STD because you may have time to treat it before it becomes a STD and can prevent the spreading of the pathogen.