At Casa de Salud, we help patients prevent and treat STIs and STDs, and we understand how difficult it is for some people to discuss these topics with their practitioners. STIs and STDs are simply medical issues, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of wanting to stay healthy.
Although the terms are often used interchangeably, STIs and STDs differ from each other.
The difference between STIs and STDs
STI stands for sexually transmitted infection, whereas STD stands for sexually transmitted disease.
So what’s the difference between an infection and a disease? Infection takes place before a disease develops, although an infection doesn’t always evolve into a disease. Infections occur when bacteria, viruses, or parasites enter the body. If your immune system is strong enough to combat some types of infections, they may not progress.
For example, you can have the human papillomavirus (HPV) and have no symptoms, so that’s an STI. But if you develop genital warts from HPV, it’s now considered an STD.
Many people with infections don’t experience symptoms. However, even if you’re asymptomatic, you can still be a carrier of the infectious organism, such as HPV, putting your sexual partners at risk.
An STD develops after an infection has damaged your body, and you begin experiencing symptoms.
Terminology aside, let’s take a look at these sexually transmitted conditions.
Symptoms of STDs
STDs come with a handful of unpleasant symptoms, such as the following:
- Rashes that spread to the legs, arms, and trunk
- Irritation and pain when urinating
- Sores and bumps in the genital area
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Pain during intercourse
When left untreated, STDs may lead to the following complications:
- Inflammatory diseases
- Cardiovascular disease
- Pregnancy complications
- Cervical and rectal cancers
Not so long ago, certain STDs led to a lifetime filled with pain. Thankfully, with the advent of antibiotics and antiviral drugs, most STDs are treatable.
Prevention and treatment for STIs and STDs
Testing is key in preventing the spread of STDs, and it may involve blood work, urinalysis, or other fluid samples. Remember, you can be a carrier of an STI even if you don’t experience any symptoms.
If you do experience symptoms, seeking early treatment can help prevent serious complications. Other ways you can reduce your risk for STIs and STDs include using condoms, avoiding sharing undergarments, getting the HPV vaccine, and reducing your number of sexual partners.
If you suspect you have an STI or STD, or if you simply want to get tested to be sure, our team at Casa de Salud invites you to visit one of our offices in Los Angeles, California, either in Downtown LA or Adams Normandie.