STIs and STDs: What's the difference?
STD, which stands for Sexually Transmitted Disease, is a common acronym we are all familiar with, but what about STI? STI and STD are often used interchangeably although they are vastly different.
Sexual health is an important part of our wellbeing and should be made a priority. Practicing safe sex not only ensures a healthy physical state but enhances your intimate relationships too.
At English Doctor Barcelona, we are dedicated to providing information that helps our readers and patients make educated decisions about their sexual health. In this article we will share the difference between STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) and STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases)
If you concerned about your sexual health, or are showing symptoms of an STI or STD, we encourage you to book an appointment with us through our website. You can also call us on 34 662 291 191. All our doctors speak English, so you can feel relaxed and comfortable knowing we’ll understand you.
STIs and STDs. What’s the difference?
An STI is a sexually transmitted infection, while an STD is a sexually transmitted disease.
Not all diseases start as infections, but some do. It’s important to get an infection checked sooner rather than later, particularly because 80% of STIs show no signs at all. If you are sexually active, it’s advisable to get regular check ups (at least once a year).
Infection VS disease
An infection is often the early stages of a disease.
Infections are caused when pathogens - like viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites - enter your body and start multiplying. The infection turns into a disease once these pathogens damage your cells, causing symptoms to appear.
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize they have an STI until they begin experiencing symptoms - which is why it’s so important to get checked regularly.
STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections)
These infections are typically passed through intercourse but can also be contracted through skin-on-skin contact. Common STIs include Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Mycoplasma, Ureaplasma, Gential Warts (Condyloma), Genital Ulcers, HPV, Herpes, Trichomoniasis or Scabies, some of which are caused by bacteria, and others by a virus.
Some common symptoms of STIs
As mentioned in this blog, not all people present symptoms.
- Vaginal itching or discharge
- Discharge from the penis
- Pain during sex or urinating
- Pain in your anus
- Dark urine or loose stools
- Soft, flesh-coloured warts around your genitals
STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases)
Once an infection has progressed into an STD, symptoms may become more visible. If left untreated STDs can cause significant damage to tissues and organs that may lead to more serious inflammatory diseases. The risks of bodily damage from STDs are particularly serious for women as it may affect their fertility.
The importance of communication to protect yourself from STIs and STDs
Communication is an incredibly important part of a relationship. Although it might feel uncomfortable to discuss sexual health with a new partner, it’s important to “have the conversation” to protect both you and your partner.
When should you get checked?
If you are sexually active, you need to get an STI test every year. But you may find you need to get tested more often, especially if you:
- Are at the beginning of a new relationship and don’t want to use condoms
- Have recently ended a relationship
- Had unsafe sex
- Have genital symptoms such as pain, discharge, and itching
- Have a partner who recently had an STI or STD
- Get paid for sex work or pay for sex.
- Feel pain or discomfort while having sex
Our services to treat STIs and STDs
Our practice provides testing for various sexual health conditions.
We know that you may feel embarrassed to inquire about Sexual Health related tests, but don’t be.
- First, we are a Medical Centre and we have seen it all, we treat and see patients from different ages, countries and cultures.
- Secondly, we are living in Barcelona, where STDs have been on the rise in the past few years, so tests are performed daily.
- Finally, and shh, but this is NOT a secret: we also test ourselves periodically for STD’s, so there is nothing to feel ashamed of.
To make the process easier, we created a “Fill and Drop” process: Book your test, fill the required information, and drop a Urine Sample at our Medical Centre.
We will give you a QR code with which you will have access anytime to your results.
Many STIs and STDs can be treated effectively, and those that can't be cured can often be controlled with treatment.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding healthy sexual relations, book an online consultation with Dr Joseph.
At English Doctor Barcelona, we offer healthcare to anyone that needs it.