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Maybe you have heard the terms STD or STI, but do you know the difference?

The term STD has been in use longer, but in the medical world the term STI is becoming the preferred term. STD stands for sexually transmitted disease, where STI stands for sexually transmitted infection. When you look up the definition of the word disease, you will see that it refers to a disorder in a human that produces specific signs or symptoms. Since many STIs do not start with specific signs or symptoms, called asymptomatic, many argue that they should not be referred to as a disease. Keep in mind, whether you have an asymptomatic infection or a fully symptomatic disease, both are contagious and can lead to serious health problems. With all of that said these two terms are still used interchangeably and ultimately refer to the same list of infections like chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV and HPV.

Infection or Disease… Do you have one?

The most important thing to do is to get tested.  Then, learn more about prevention, get educated, get treated, and make changes to improve your own health. “CDC estimates that youth ages 15-24 make up just over one quarter of the sexually active population, but account for half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted infections that occur in the United States each year.” (, 2017) This should be a reminder that change is needed.  Change to what is known about STIs, what education should include, and what real prevention looks like. At A Woman’s Place Medical Clinic we offer free testing for STIs, education and support, well-woman exams and treatment options. Get tested, get educated, and let us help you get all of your questions answered.

Written by: Valerie Schumacher, RN

"Adolescents and Young Adults." Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Last modified December 8, 2017, 2017. Accessed October 22, 2018, 2018.