Sexual Transmitted Infections (STIs)

STD, STI, STI, STD…What’s the difference?

When we hear discussions about sexual health, the terms STI and STD are thrown around a lot. Well using acronyms does wonders for convenience, but falls short on explaining the significance of these words. STI stands for Sexually Transmitted Infection. Bacteria, viruses, and other parasites can enter the body as a result of sexual contact with another person who carries these pathogens (fancy word for germ). People can pass these pathogens around without even knowing it, because in many cases there are no symptoms. These pathogens get into the body and multiply in numbers, but do not yet cause any visible or recognizable symptoms. “Infection” most accurately describes the situation where sexual partners do not have symptoms and may not be aware that they have an infection. Depending on the strain of the bacteria, virus, or protozoa, these infections can cause physical damage, or a disease.

Most people with a Sexually Transmitted Disease will know it, because symptoms arise.

So here we have it.

Not all STIs cause STDs……..but all STDs are classified as an STI

Still confused?

Check out this STI fact sheet  from the World Health Organization.

If you are interested in the sexual health services offered by the Adair County Health Department,  visit the Family Planning or Sexually Transmitted Disease pages on this website.


Content Credit: Medical Institute for Sexual Health 

Public Health