STD Vs. STI: Differences, Types, Causes, Treatment and Testing

STD vs. STI - STDTestGuru

Sexually Transmitted Diseases are unique in certain ways like causing symptoms, the time period in which the symptoms appear from the actual exposure, and the different types of infections that cause severe health complications. STDs are commonly widespread across the globe and more commonly seen in countries where healthcare and knowledge access is pretty narrow like the African continent. Read on to know more about STDs and STIs.

What are STDs?

STDs are a shrunken form of Sexually Transmitted Diseases that many people refrain from referring to due to the stigma around them. According to the World Health Organisation, more than a million cases per day are being reported every day around the world. Many of the cases are going unreported as many people do not have the healthcare benefits or accessibility to do the testing and diagnose. There are various types of STDs, some of which can lead to death if not treated in the early stages.


STDs are commonly interchanged and referred to as STIs or Sexually Transmitted Infections. Generally, the term “infections” is referred to temporary conditions that devour your health and can be rectified with the help of antibiotics or similar medications. On the other hand, “diseases” are referred to as long-term conditions that do not go away and stay with you forever like HIV and diabetes.

STDs can be referred to the long-term conditions that have no cure to date. They include HIV, Herpes, HPV, and certain types of Hepatitis. STIs can be clustered with sexually transmitted infections that can be cured in the short-term or in the long term; they include Chlamydia, Syphilis, and Gonorrhea.

Different types of STDs and STIs

There are more than a dozen types of STDs, and most people commonly know of HIV and Chlamydia more due to their widespread nature. HIV is the most feared and when you think of STDs, you often think of HIV as the possible one. But, today HIV is not as commonly spread or reported as other STIs such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis as they take a major toll on the annual STD cases in the US and around the world. Following seven are the most commonly seen STDs and STIs –

  • Chlamydia
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Gonorrhea
  • HIV
  • HPV
  • Herpes
  • Syphilis

STD/STI Symptoms in men and women

STDs play silent when it comes to symptoms as they do not show up any signs until quite a decent time has passed since your infection in the initial stage. Most of the STDs develop symptoms after a few weeks and some can take even months to identify as an STD because the initial symptoms are more flu-like that making it even more difficult to distinguish. This is a common cause for the STDs getting spread to almost every sexually active individual at least once in their lifetime. People transmit STDs to other partners even without their own knowledge. When the symptoms occur, follow are the most commonly reported symptoms of STDs in men and women –

STD and STI symptoms
STD: Incurable and Curable STD, Symptoms in men and women

STD Symptoms in Women

  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Painful urination
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding

STD Symptoms in Men

  • Thick penile discharge
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Swollen testicles
  • Anal itching
  • Irritation inside the penis
  • Painful bowel movements

Common Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice
  • Sore throat

Can STD/STI be cured?

Treatment and cure for STD depend on what type of STD you are infected with. Some STDs can be treated and cured completely and some cannot be cured fully but can be suppressed to undetectable levels in the blood test.

The virus-causing STDs are the most vigilant and do not have a cure to date – they include HIV, Herpes, and HPV. If you are infected with any of these, then you are said to carry the disease lifelong. Retro-viral medications are used to suppress the virus can reduce your symptoms. The medications don’t guarantee a complete cure or there’s no vaccine available to cure post-infection. However, there are vaccines for HPV that is highly recommended to administer at the prescribed age to avoid infection in the future.

Bacteria causing STDs or more precisely STIs can be treated and cured completely with the help of antibiotics.

When it comes to treatment, it is highly recommended to complete the full course of your prescribed medications to avoid reinfection. Sometimes people tend to stop the medications after a few days as the STD symptoms have disappeared. But, that is highly advised against, as the bacteria-causing agent is still alive inside and can wake up and cause an outbreak of symptoms anytime. Thus, it is crucial to complete the full course of medications to avoid getting infected again. Your physician may also order testing of the STD again after the completion of all medication to check whether the bacteria inside you is fully terminated.

However, when you are cured of STD, it doesn’t guarantee you reinfection is impossible. You can actually get re-infected with Chlamydia and Gonorrhea if you practice sex with strangers.

Leaving STDs untreated can lead to severe health complications such as infertility, HIV/AIDS, UTIs, and in some types of STDs like Syphilis, you can face neurological complications stroke, and memory loss if you do not address it in the early stages and get diagnosed.

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