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What is STIs or STDs?

Find out what STIs or STDs stand for!

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections acquired by one person from another through sexual contact. They spread through intimate physical contact. Usually, the contact is vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Some STDs, like herpes and HPV, are spread from skin-to-skin contact.

STDs and STIs are very common. They are caused by bacteria, viruses, and certain parasites. Many people who possess them do not show any symptoms. Without treatment, STDs can lead to serious health issues. But the good news is that getting tested is no rocket science, and most STDs are easy to treat.

Overview of stis (std) in the united states
source: STI Prevalence, Incidence, and Cost Estimates
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Who gets affected?

STIs don’t always cause any symptoms. It is possible to get affected by sexually transmitted infections from people who seem perfectly in good health. They might not know that they have an infection. Most STDs affect both women and men, but in many cases, the problems they cause can be more severe for women. If a pregnant woman has an STI or STD, it can cause severe health problems for the baby.

How do you get affected?

The parasites that cause these infections and diseases get passed from one person to another in blood, semen, vaginal, and other bodily fluids. Sometimes these infections can be transmitted non-sexually. They can be transmitted from mothers to their infants during pregnancy or childbirth or through blood transfusions and shared needles.

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Types of STDs/STIs

There are more than 20 types of STIs and STDs. The most common types of sexually transmitted diseases include:

Stis (std) screening estimates
source: STI Prevalence, Incidence, and Cost Estimates
Chlamydia – It is a very common STD caused by a bacterial infection. Often these don’t show any infection. Chlamydia is easy to treat once diagnosed.

Gonorrhea – A very common STD, it is caused by a bacterial infection. They can be easily treated once they get diagnosed. People with gonorrhea do not show any symptoms mostly.

Hepatitis B – It is a virus that can cause liver disease which spreads through sex or sharing personal hygiene items like toothbrushes or razors.

HCV – It is a virus that can cause liver disease which spread by contact with contaminated blood; for example, from sharing needles or from unsterile tattoo equipment.

HIV & AIDS – HIV is an infection that breaks the immune system. It leads to AIDS. There is no cure for it but treatment can help you stay healthy.

Syphilis – It is a common infection caused by bacteria. It can be easily cured with medicine. It can become dangerous if you do not treat it.

Trichomoniasis – It is a major cause of vaginitis. Most people don’t show any symptoms. It is super common and can be easily treated. It can be cured with antibiotics.

HPV – HPV stands for human papillomavirus. It is the most common STI. It is normally harmless and goes away by itself but some can lead to cancer or genital warts.

Herpes – A virus causing contagious sores, most often around the mouth or on the genitals. Herpes is spread from skin-to-skin contact with infected areas, often during vaginal sex, oral sex, anal sex, and kissing.

Genital Warts – These grow on the genital area and around the anus. They can be caused by certain types of HPV. These can be annoying but they aren’t dangerous and can be treated.

Scabies – These are tiny parasites that cause irritation and itching. They are easily passed from one person to another through skin-to-skin contact, usually during sex. They can be cured.

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Signs and Symptoms

What are Symptoms of STDs?

STIs and STDs have a wide range of signs and symptoms, including no symptoms. That’s why they may be overlooked until complications occur or your partner gets diagnosed. Different STDs have different symptoms. A few signs that might indicate you have an STI include:

  • Sores or bumps on the genitals, oral or rectal area
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Discharge from the penis
  • Unusual or odorous vaginal discharge
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding
  • Pain during sex
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Fever and rash over the hands, trunk, or feet

Signs and symptoms may start to appear a few days after exposure. However, it may take several years before you start having any noticeable problems, depending on the organism causing the STI. Note that all of the above symptoms can be caused by things that aren’t STDs like pimples, UTIs, or yeast infections so to conform, getting tested is the only way to know what’s going on.

STDs Protection

When To Seek Medical Help?

It is very important to get tested if you think you have an STI or STD as some can cause severe health issues if you do not treat them on time. Having an STD makes you more likely to get other STDs, like HIV. It is for your good to find out right away if you have one, so you can avoid passing it on to other people. Most common STDs are easily curable with medicine and the ones that cannot be cured have treatments to help you with the signs and symptoms to lower your chances of passing it on to anyone else. So the sooner you know, the faster you can start taking care. Seek medical help immediately if:

  • You are sexually active, especially with multiple partners
  • Do you have any symptoms of having an STI or STD
STDs Testing Facility

Most of the time, STIs and STDs show no symptoms. Testing being the only way to know for sure if you have one, talk with a doctor or nurse about getting tested. If you’ve ever had any kind of sexual contact that can spread STIs and STDs like vaginal, anal, or oral sex, get tested and put your mind at ease.

Remember, you can’t tell you to have an STI just by the way you feel or look. Most people are asymptomatic. Even if you do not have any symptoms, you still need to get tested. It is very important to get tested if you’ve had unprotected sexual contact, or if you found out that your partner has one. A medical practitioner can tell you whether you should get tested. It is best if you find out as soon as possible. Some STIs and STDs can cause severe damage over time, even if you feel healthy right now. It can spread to others you have sex with whether or not you show any signs and symptoms.

The best part about getting tested is that it can put your mind at peace. Make STD testing a regular part of your life. Become responsible for taking care of yourself. Plus, getting tested at Affordable Rapid Testing is contactless, quick, and painless. Learn more about  Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).

Stay Safe


If you believe you have STI symptoms, conduct a test to confirm.