01 Sep STIs Are the New STDs
You probably remember first hearing about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) back in grade school, but nowadays, that terminology is starting to change. Some doctors are starting to call them sexually transmitted infections (STIs) instead, and although the words “STI” and “STD” are being used somewhat interchangeably, there is a small distinction.
Why the Change and What’s the Difference?
Recently, health professionals and experts in this area have been promoting the term STI because of its implications. The word “disease” connotes a medical issue that manifests itself with clearly adverse symptoms. In reality, a lot of people who have an STD never get those symptoms, so they are simply carriers of the virus or bacteria that could cause an STD (and getting tested is the only way you can know for sure if you’re infected).
In short, if you’re carrying the infection without exhibiting signs, it’s an STI. Once you start experiencing symptoms, it becomes an STD.
Here’s a list of some of the most common STIs that can progress into STDs. Remember that for most of these, you can become infected again even if you were successfully treated for it in the past:
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
New cases in the US each year: 14 million+
With over 40 types of HPV, this is the most common STI, and the majority of sexually active individuals will get it at some point. Most people don’t experience symptoms ever, and the infection goes away on its own in about two years. There are vaccines you can get to help protect yourself against it.
- Bleeding during sex
- Small warts clustered together
- Itching/discomfort in genital area
New cases in the US each year: 2.5 million+
This infection can be treated with antibiotics since it’s a bacterial. It usually takes about a week or two for the antibiotics to rid your body of the infection, but you should be re-tested after a few months to make sure the infection is really gone. Again, most people won’t have symptoms.
- Discharge from penis
- Painful urination
- Testicular pain
New cases in the US each year: 800,000+
Unlike trichomoniasis, most women won’t exhibit symptoms of gonorrhea while most men will. The treatment for this infection usually requires two antibiotics. It’s important to monitor your symptoms during treatment and let your doctor know if it’s not working, since there are subtypes of gonorrhea that are becoming resistant to the antibiotics used for treatment in the past.
- Bloody discharge from penis
- Swollen testicles
- Painful bowel movements
New cases in the US each year: 750,000+
There isn’t a cure for herpes, but there are medicines that can help. Similar to the other STIs, some of the people infected won’t exhibit any signs, and they can still transfer the infection even if they don’t have the sores that are characteristic of this STI.
- Small red bumps
- Open sores
New cases in the US each year: 55,000+
Another bacterial infection, antibiotics will help cure it, but the length of treatment also depends on how quickly you catch it. This is one infection that is more likely to turn into an STD than not, although most people won’t see the first symptoms until almost three weeks after they were first infected.
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Rash (will look like small sores)
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
New cases in the US each year: 41,000+
There is currently no cure for the HIV virus, but there is treatment available that can help you be more comfortable and reduce the risk of your spreading the virus to others. The virus kills off the white blood cells that protect the immune system, eventually resulting in the development of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Common symptoms of the early phase:
- Swollen lymph glands
If you or your partner are experiencing any of the above symptoms, get tested today at LT Men’s Clinic. We take insurance, but we also offer cash pricing for these tests. Give us a call at (817) 416.5698 today!