Are you confused about the difference between a STD and STI? You’re not alone. With the increased use of the term STI, Clarity wants to clarify what’s up with the change.

To start off, the acronym STI refers to a sexually transmitted infection while STD refers to a sexually transmitted disease. The simple difference is between the words infection and disease. An infection occurs when the body has been invaded by microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses or parasites. These microorganisms are not normally present. As these microorganisms enter the body and begin multiplying, they may do so without any signs or symptoms. A sexually transmitted infection occurs when these microorganisms are transmitted from an infected partner to an uninfected partner through oral, vaginal, or anal sexual activity and sometimes, though rarely, through mutual masturbation. The infected partner may not be aware they are infected and are capable of transmitting the infection to others without even knowing it.

A sexually transmitted disease on the other hand is a sexually acquired infection that has impaired normal functioning of a body part and is apparent by certain signs and symptoms. Signs and symptoms serve to alert the individual to something being “not right”, which may prompt them to seek out medical attention.

In the past, sexually transmitted infections and diseases were all lumped under the category of STDs. However, in an attempt to highlight the fact that people may be infected with a microorganism like Gonorrhea and not know it, the medical and public health communities began to more accurately refer to them as sexually transmitted infections.

Consider the following case study: Bob came to Clarity Testing Clinic because his girlfriend, Kelly, began experiencing symptoms of a vaginal infection, went to her doctor and was told that she had Chlamydia. Since Bob was her first and only sexual partner, she felt she must have been infected with the bacteria by him. Bob was surprised however, because he had never felt anything unusual, which he later learned was pretty common. His sexual partner before Kelly was at least 6 months prior. Bob wondered how he could have had Chlamydia for 6 months and yet not have any symptoms. It happens. If Bob understood that STIs can be present without symptoms, he may have chosen to be tested for STIs before engaging in sexual activity with Kelly. If Kelly understood that Bob, having had previous partners, could possibly have an infection that was not producing any symptoms, she may have asked Bob to get tested before engaging in sexual activity with him. Prevention is always best.

Sexually transmitted infections, if left untreated, may cause significant damage to tissues and organs leading to complications like pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy in women and Epididymitis in men.

Clarity Testing Clinic specializes in the testing and treatment of STIs. In addition to excellent medical care, our medical professionals provide a listening ear and positive guidance to those in need of STI testing and treatment. Patients are made aware of the possibilities available to them and helped to find a path that doesn’t lead back to the testing clinic. Make an appointment today by visiting our Appointment Page or calling 812-418-3230.