The Complete Definition of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)
Once Upon A Time.... There are references to Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and Infections (STI) in ancient Rome and the Bible. Then - and for a long time afterward - STIs/STDs were regarded as a "pleasure plague" or "God's punishment for sins".
In the past, people made their lifestyle or sexual preferences responsible for an infection. Thus, in the eyes of society, it was the person's fault for sexual disease transmission. Moreover, only a life without "sins" was considered safe protection - even if that hardly corresponded to real life at the time.
For example, in the past, rashes (caused by STI) were burned out with red-hot iron, or toxic mercury was used (unsuccessfully, of course).
Suitable medication has been available in many cases for around 100 years; Since the 1950s, penicillin has been the first antibiotic available that still helps with syphilis.
What does STD stand for? What does STI stand for?
STDs stand for Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Where STIs stands for Sexually Transmitted Infections.
What is the Definition of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD)and Infections (STI)?
Sexual Diseases - What are Sexually Transmitted Diseases?
Have you asked yourself what STD disease is? Or what are sexually transmitted diseases?
Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) are contagious venereal diseases that are mainly transmitted through sexual contact. An infection occurs when the agent of a sexually transmitted disease gets into the body.
So, what is sexual transmission disease?
Usually, the infection occurs through sexual intercourse. It is primarily irrelevant how (genital, oral-genital, anal) and with whom (heterosexual, homosexual) sexual intercourse occurs.
Some pathogens, for example, kissing, petting, or blood-to-blood contact, are sufficient for infection. Likewise, a sexually transmitted infection can be transmitted from the mother to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
In addition, some sexually transmitted diseases are transmitted through direct blood contact. An infection can be caused where sharing of syringes - e.g., with injecting drug use - occurs.
The importance of sexually transmitted diseases or sexual disease transmission has been increasing again for several years now.
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STD Frequently Asked Questions
The various types of sexual diseases are defined through the causative agents. For example, the causative agents of sexually transmitted infections include:
- Bacteria (e.g., Chlamydia, Syphilis, Gonorrhoea)
- Virus (e.g., HIV, Hepatitis B, HPV),
- Fungi (e.g., Vaginal Fungal Infection),
- Protozoa (e.g., B. Trichomoniasis)
- Arthropods (e.g., Mites, Pubic Lice)
It is possible to contract multiple sexually transmitted diseases at the same time. That means it is possible to get a sexually transmitted bacterial infection and a sexually transmitted virus infection.
In addition, individual infections increase the risk of contracting other pathogens.
What is the difference between Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and Infections (STI)?
STD vs STI – Difference between STD and STI
Straightforwardly, the difference between Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) is that it is considered a sexual disease only when symptoms of infection appear.
The difference between STD and STI - sexually transmitted infection or sexually transmitted disease - is challenging to understand. In some cases, health professionals can replace one term without distinguishing between the two.
There have been some attempts to separate the terms, using STI to denote body colonization with a sexually transmitted disease, whether or not symptoms are present in recent years.
STD is reserved when observable symptoms or changes in the body occur after infection.
STD vs STI - Sexually Transmitted Infection a Broader Term
Defining the differences between an STI and an STD makes "sexually transmitted infection" a broader term than "sexually transmitted disease".
The differences mean that anyone who carries an asymptomatic or symptomatic sexually transmitted virus, bacteria, or parasite can be classified as having an STI.
In contrast, a sexually transmitted disease will show some symptoms of the infection. Therefore, it will not be used when people are asymptomatic.
Such subtle distinctions between an STI and an STD can help understand sexually transmitted diseases that may not be symptomatic for a long time.
Certain sexual diseases can lie dormant in the body for a long time, such as some forms of human papillomavirus (HPV). Alternatively, they have no noticeable symptoms without substantial investigation, although they may create an environment at risk for the individual.
This last sexual disease would be classified as a sexual disease transmission because this sexual disease causes physical harm even if it is invisible to the person.
STD vs STI - Understanding the Difference between STD and STI
Understanding the differences between an STI and an STD can be important for those who are sexually active. It is essential to understand that persistent signs of good health and freedom from symptoms do not necessarily mean that a person is disease-free.
People can't always tell if they or their partners are sick. It suggests that precautions are needed to have sex more safely, including limiting the number of sexual partners to avoid any sexual diseases.
What are the most common Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and Infections (STI)?
genital herpes Infected
Women HPV Infected
There are more than 30 different STIs worldwide. Chlamydia, with 127 million people worldwide infected in 2019, is prevalent. But other STIs are also widespread, such as trichomonas, gonorrhea, or syphilis. In 2020, almost 250 million people were infected with the STIs trichomonads, gonorrhea (gonorrhea), and syphilis.
And then, there are an estimated 500 million people infected with genital herpes and over 300 million women alone who have an HPV infection.
According to the WHO, more than a million people worldwide get infected with a sexually transmitted disease every day. Sexually transmitted diseases are also a significant problem in the US.
The most common sexually transmitted disease worldwide is chlamydia. According to the WHO estimates, there are 92 million new infections with genital chlamydia every year.
In addition, syphilis and gonorrhea are among the frequently transmitted diseases and the viral diseases hepatitis B, genital herpes, and HIV / AIDS. The most common parasitic STI is Trichomonas Vaginalis.
The most common STDs in the US are Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Herpes, Syphilis, Hepatitis, and Chlamydia.
All of those mentioned STDs are different sexual diseases; their symptoms, treatment, and prevention vary.
Site Facts: The WHO regularly publishes international figures on common STDs in men and common STDs in women. Check out who.org
Curable and Incurable Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and Infections (STI)
In the early stages, almost all of these diseases can be treated with a chance of success: some are curable, others - wildly viral diseases - cannot be cured but can be brought to a standstill. However, among the incurable viral diseases, HIV infection and AIDS are of the most significant importance.
The timely and successful treatment of sexually transmitted diseases is often tricky. Those affected do not pay attention to the early symptoms or are ashamed to talk about them and see a doctor. The later it gets treated, the chances of a painful development in some STDs increase.
These numbers may be a little frightening at first glance: STDs are treatable and can often be completely cured.
In the early stages, almost all of these diseases can be treated with a chance of success: some are curable, others - especially viral diseases – are incurable but can be brought to a standstill. Among the fatal viral diseases, HIV infection and AIDS are significant.
The timely and successful treatment of sexually transmitted diseases is often tricky because those affected do not pay attention to the early symptoms of STDs or are ashamed to talk about them and see a doctor.
Common STDs in Men
If it itches and burns down below after a wild one-night stand, this indicates a sexually transmitted disease.
But not all sexually transmitted diseases make themselves feel so quickly through such apparent symptoms. Some only cause symptoms after many weeks, while others are entirely symptom-free.
The most common types of STDs in men are gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, genital herpes, and chlamydia.
Common STDs in Women
If women develop bleeding disorders - for example, they stop menstruating or start spotting even though they are not menstruating - this can also indicate an STD.
In both sexes, pain and burning sensation in the genitals or when urinating are other typical symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, blisters, ulcers, and warts in the genital area or after oral sex on the mouth can also indicate an STI such as genital herpes, syphilis, or genital warts.
Rare Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and Infections (STI)
One of the rare sexually transmitted diseases is Granuloma Inguinale caused by the bacterium Klebsiella granulomatis. It leads to chronic inflammation and scarring of the genitals.
The STD Granuloma Inguinale usually causes a pain-free, red lump in or near the genital area. It slowly enlarges, breaks down, and forms an open ulcer.
Doctors suspect the infection in people with typical symptoms and live in areas where the disease occurs. Next, you confirm the diagnosis by examining a fluid sample from the wound.
Treatment with antibiotics is usually adequate.
The rare sexually transmitted disease of Granuloma Inguinale is sporadic in developed countries. However, it is still found in Papua New Guinea, Australia, South Africa, the Caribbean, and parts of Brazil and India.
Symptoms of granuloma inguinale usually begin 1 to 10 weeks after infection. The first symptom is a painless, red lump that slowly develops into a round, raised bump. This lump then breaks open and forms a foul-smelling wound near the source of the infection:
- Penis, scrotum, loin, and thighs in men
- Vulva, vagina, and surrounding skin in women
- In both sexes, the face
- Anus and buttocks in people who practice anal intercourse
An ulcer slowly enlarges and affects the surrounding tissue, causing further damage, which might be painful. The ulcer can also spread through contact with other parts of the body. Without treatment, the ulcers will continue to apply.
The ulcer heals slowly and can leave permanent scars. Sometimes, the infection spreads to the bones, joints, or liver through the bloodstream.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and Infections (STI)?
The symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be as diverse as the pathogens. However, symptoms of the sex organs such as an unpleasant smelling, unusual discharge from the vagina, penis, or anus, sore throat after unprotected oral and anal itching indicate a sexually transmitted disease.
But also pain or burning sensation when urinating (burning pee), itching and changes in the (mucous) skin or abdominal pain, and bleeding disorders in women can be symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease.
In addition, common STDs symptoms such as constant fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, and a sore throat indicate a sexually transmitted disease.
It is not uncommon to have no symptoms at all. Therefore, if you suspect a sexually transmitted disease, you should always consult a doctor.
Signs of an STD
What are the signs of an STD? Some of the more common signs of STDs are but are not limited to:
- Burning and painful urination (burning pee)
- Discharge from the limb and anus, unusual discharge
- from the vagina
- Itching, pain, skin changes at the vaginal entrance,
- on the anus
- Redness, pimples, nodules, blisters, warts, ulcers in
- the genital area
- irregular, absent menstruation, intermenstrual
- swollen lymph nodes in the groin area
- Pain in the genital area or in the lower abdomen
- Changes such as open spots in your mouth or throat
- Sore throat after unprotected oral sex
Signs and Symptoms of STD in Women and Men
The symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection can be very diverse, but they can also be completely absent (e.g., in the case of chlamydia). Symptoms on the genitals such as an unpleasant smelling, unusual discharge from the vagina indicate a sexually transmitted disease and should be clarified.
Unfortunately, the signs of an STI are not always clear: for example, you feel like you have the flu, are weak, constantly tired, vomit, have no appetite, and maybe have a fever. In such a case, one often does not immediately think of an STI, such as hepatitis B or HIV.
Sometimes you have no signs at all. With some STIs, the symptoms go away after a while - but the pathogens can still be in the body and damage your health. Therefore, only a doctor can tell you whether you have an STI or not.
By the way: If you are not sure whether you have any signs of illness, it can help to speak openly with your partner. Maybe they also have complaints. Ultimately, however, only a visit to the doctor will bring you clarity!
But also pain or burning sensation when urinating, itching and changes in the (mucous) skin or abdominal pain and bleeding disorders can be symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease in women.
All sexually transmitted diseases can be treated with a good chance of success in the early stages. Some are curable; others - wildly viral infections - cannot be cured but can be brought to a standstill.
Don't try to self-medicate with tips from friends or the internet because only a doctor can tell you precisely what to do.
How to Control and Treat Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and Infections (STI)
In the early stages, all sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be treated with a good chance of success. Some are curable; others - wildly viral diseases - cannot be cured but can be brought to a standstill.
You should seek medical help immediately (e.g., gynecologists, general practitioners, dermatologists) if you suspect that you may have been infected!
The timely and successful treatment of sexually transmitted diseases is often tricky. Those affected do not pay attention to the early symptoms or are ashamed and shy away from a medical evaluation.
Health authorities also offer the possibility of free advice - for many, the offer is confidential and anonymous. That means: you don't have to give your name. In the case of some infectious diseases, the partner should also be treated without renewed infection (ping-pong effect). In addition, former partners should be informed about the likelihood of a previous infection.
The most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are HPV, chlamydia, gonorrhea (gonorrhea), herpes, AIDS, and syphilis.
Results of Delayed or Absent STD Treatment for Male and Female
If treatment is delayed or absent, complications or long-term effects of various forms can occur. In addition, it allows the pathogens to spread throughout the body and affect other organs.
For example, if syphilis pathogens affect the central nervous system, damage in the form of paralysis can occur. The pathogen causing gonorrhea can, if left untreated, cause inflammation of the joints, eyes, and heart, but also permanent infertility.
If the pathogen causing gonorrhea is transferred from an infected pregnant woman to the child during birth, the newborn can go blind. Premature births are not uncommon in pregnant women with untreated gonorrhea or Trichomonas infection. Genital chlamydial infection can lead to unwanted sterility, pregnancy complications, and infections in the newborn.
Extensive genital warts may require a cesarean section. Genital wart pathogens (so-called HPV viruses) can cause malignant tumors, e.g., on the uterus or the anal mucosa. A common consequence of hepatitis B is liver inflammation, leading to liver failure, liver cirrhosis, or malignant liver tumors.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and Infections (STI) Treatment
If you see signs of a sexually transmitted infection, don't put off going to the doctor long before you go. Because many STIs can be treated very well and often even wholly cured, especially if they are recognized early. It also prevents you from infecting other people.
- Depending which STI is diagnosed, there are different treatment options:
- Antibiotics, whereby the consistent use is crucial here
- Antiviral drugs that may have to be taken for a long time
- Antiparasitic, which is often intended for topical use
- Symptomatic remedies ranging from pain relievers to minor surgery
By the way: Only very few STIs, such as hepatitis A, heal on their own and without medication. Nevertheless, you should still see a doctor - this is the only way to clarify whether you need any medication.
How Exactly are STIs Treated?
In general, almost all STIs can be treated, even if they cannot all be cured entirely. But even if there is no cure, the proper treatment can, for example, stop the progression of an STI, alleviate symptoms and avoid consequential damage.
The following options are available for treating STIs:
Bacteria, such as chlamydia cause many STIs. They can be treated with antibiotics. These are drugs that kill the bacteria or prevent them from spreading. Especially if you are being treated with antibiotics, you must take the medication for as long as the doctor tells you - otherwise, the bacteria can spread again, and the antibiotics no longer work.
If viruses cause an STI, then antiviral drugs can be used in some cases - but not always. They often prevent the viruses from multiplying or even destroying them. However, antiviral therapy is sometimes very tedious: in chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C, the treatment usually lasts several weeks; in HIV, it can even be lifelong.
Some STIs are caused by parasites, such as mites or protozoa. They can be treated with a variety of drugs called antiparasitic drugs. Depending on the pathogen, antiparasitic drugs in creams, lotions or tablets can be used.
Sometimes it is not possible or sufficient to treat the causes of an STI. So then, the focus is on the symptoms or the consequences of an STI. It is the case with genital warts; for example, they can be removed by freezing or laser, even if the actual cause, an HPV infection, is not treated directly but usually heals itself over time.
Depending on the infection, you should entirely refrain from sex until the end of the treatment. After that, the doctor will tell you how to behave to protect your health and others.
Treatment and Prevention of STDs and STIs
Below table will just give a brief overview on treatments and preventions of some of the more common sexually transmitted diseases and infections.
Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and Infections (STI)
How to Prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases?
For most sexually transmitted diseases, the risk of getting infected is significantly reduced if the man uses a condom during sexual intercourse. It does not matter whether the man or the woman is infected with the respective pathogen. When using condoms, the man should pull the member out of the vagina soon after ejaculation, holding the condom by the root of the member. Female condoms can be obtained from international pharmacies and internet providers.
Men and women in heterosexual or homosexual partnerships can become infected not only through sexual intercourse but also through other sexual practices. Safe sex can reduce the risk of infection.
With some contagious diseases and inadequate body hygiene, smear infections (spread of the pathogen in body fluids via the hands or the like) are possible. Thoroughly washing the genitals with soap even after using a condom can further reduce the risk of infection. However, none of these precautions are entirely safe.
How do you Avoid Sexually Transmitted Infections?
The safest way to avoid the acute and chronic damage to the health of a sexually transmitted infection is through effective prevention.
The most important protection against infections during sexual intercourse is to use condoms. It applies not only to vaginal sex but also to oral and anal sex.
Injectable transmission can be prevented by using sterile syringes. In addition, early detection and treatment of a sexually transmitted infection as part of pregnancy examinations will reduce or prevent mother-to-child transmission.
Good personal and general hygiene practices can help prevent smear infections. Vaccines are also available against individual pathogens such as hepatitis B and HPV.
Vaccinations against HPV are recommended for all young people aged 9-14 years. The primary immunization against hepatitis B usually occurs in the first 14 months of life. If this has not been done, primary vaccination is recommended for adolescents aged 9-17 years.
Do Condoms Prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and Infections (STI)?
The condom and dental dam (wafer-thin latex cloth for oral sex) reliably protect against HIV and offer good protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). However, since STDs can also be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, an infection can occur despite using a condom.
Therefore, you must pay attention to symptoms and see a doctor immediately if you notice any signs of a sexually transmitted disease. In addition, if you change sexual partners frequently, you should get tested annually for sexually transmitted diseases.