The Difference Between Sexually Transmitted Infections and STDs

Sexually transmitted disease or Sexually transmitted infection? which one do you have and how can you tell the difference? Well, let’s start with the basics. As the name implies, you can contract an STI from unprotected sexual contact with another partner. Whether by virus or bacteria, these diseases get into your body and can cause any number of ailments you may, or may not have, heard of before. From HIV to syphilis, to herpes, it’s safe to say you never want to get an STI because it could ruin a very important part of your life, possibly forever.


First, I want to talk to you about the difference between STI and STD, once you understand the definition it will make common sense but before then the two seem almost identical, and in fact, are often used interchangeably from one another. A Sexually Transmitted Infection is what it says it is, an INFECTION. This is your standard infections we talked about earlier, HIV, gonorrhea, etc. An STI only become an STD when that infection causes you to develop a disease, you see where we’re going with this? Say you have HIV and it causes you to develop some form of cancer or other dangerous diseases. Well, now you have an STD.

Causes Of Std Increases

How do STIs spread

How do we prevent sexually transmitted infections from ruining our lives in the first place? Well, there’s always the tried and true method of abstinence… But let’s be honest no one really wants to become a monk in when the prime of their life shows up. To be more serious though, if abstinence just is not for you, wrap it up. I know you’ve heard that from every school lecture and sex-ed class you’ve ever been to but it gets said for a reason. If you’re really planning on having intercourse with someone and not willing to have them checked first, then is it really worth risking the rest of your life’s mojo on one night of passion? It may be hard to think straight at the moment, but you really have to take stock of your life now, because you are only going to get one. In some estimates upward of 25% of the population could very well have some form of STI, whether it’s dormant or not. Those are not the best odds when you’re playing Russian roulette with your privates. Contraceptives like male or female condoms are easily one of the best preventative measures to ensure that your one-night stand goes off without a hitch.

Symptoms of STIs

But let’s say you failed to heed that advice and woke up with an itching and burning sensation a week later down there… is it jock itch? Probably not, but the only way to know for sure is to see your doctor. And I mean you should see them IMMEDIATELY. Early prevention is really the best you can hope for at this point, and while there is no known cure for most STIs, there are measures that you and your doctor can discuss to treat the symptoms of your new lifelong infection. I bet practicing safe sex sure will seem like a smart idea once it happens.

Seek treatment

One of the most important reasons to get early treatment has to do with what we discussed before, an STD. There are some serious and life-threatening consequences that go along with contracting one, and your job at this point is to make sure no matter what that you are not on the receiving end of one. If you’re a woman, and you end up with chlamydia, you can become infertile! HPV can actually lead you to contract various forms of cervical or penis cancer… seriously… penis cancer. And syphilis can be much worse it can cause paralysis, mental health and heart issues… and even death. Dying is typically what we want to avoid here.

Final advice

My best advice? ditch the bar hopping and one night stands, I hope you’re lucky enough to find the man or woman of your dreams. And if you do, be faithful to one another, get yourselves checked just to be on the safe side, and above all have fun. There is nothing safer than having all the sex you want with the woman or man that you love.

Jayden Burke

Psychiatrist at Sydney Day Hospital
Dr. Jayden Burke is one of a few medicinal experts, where he deals with a functioning practice in SDH's Essential Consideration Center and co-directs the Multidisciplinary Depression Treatment Group at SDH. He earned his therapeutic degree from the College of Missouri Institute of Medication in Columbia, Missouri, where he additionally finished his residency in family prescription. He earned his four year college education from Truman State College in Kirkistown, Kansas.
Jayden Burke