What are sexually transmitted infections and diseases?
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and diseases (STDs) are those diseases/infections mostly spread through sexual contact; they can be passed on via vaginal, oral, and anal sex. Sometimes, STIs and STDs are transmitted through blood or via the mother during pregnancy or birth. Diseases such as syphilis, HIV, gonorrhoea, human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes, hepatitis B, and chlamydia can be transmitted this way .
Although the terms, STI and STD, sound the same and are often used in the same way, they are actually different. An STI is an infection that hasn’t progressed into a disease yet and includes bacteria and viruses or parasites, for example, pubic lice.
An STD is a disease that is a result of an STI and is more serious. What happens is that STDs begin as infections and when pathogens invade the body and start to multiply, they upset the normal functions of the body and become STDs. Not all STIs become STDs; they sometimes resolve on their own without causing major issues .
- “Sexually transmitted infections.” WHO , www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sexually-transmitted-infections-(stis) . Accessed December 2020.
- “STI vs. STD: Key Differences & Resources for College Students.” Tulane University , publichealth.tulane.edu/blog/sti-vs-std/ . Accessed December 2020.