STDs vs STIs
You’ve probably heard of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and often they’re used interchangeably, but they actually mean two different things. An STD refers to a disease, which is a medical issue that normally has clear signs or symptoms. However, in the case of some STDs, the symptoms are either not felt or are small enough that they can be ignored. Because of this, the term STI has started to become more popular, as it refers to a sexually transmitted pathogen that causes an “infection” that could later result in “disease.”
Why Is STD/STI Testing Important?
With almost every other physical illness we experience, there are always signs you can be on the lookout for. When you feel that something in your body is off, you make a doctor’s appointment to get it checked on. However, with STIs and STDs, they often don’t present with noticeable symptoms, and when they do, it’s easy to mistake them for other common infections. That’s why it’s important to get regularly tested for STIs and STDs. Even if you don’t think you have one, the only way to know for sure and protect your health is to get a test.
What STD/STIs Are Most Common?
As of a 2017 CDC study, Texas is ranked 18th in the nation for Chlamydia cases (543 for every 100,000 residents) and 22nd in the nation for Gonorrhea cases (170 cases for every 100,000 residents). For both of these STIs, symptoms commonly present in men, but are much less likely to present in women. For example, in cases of Chlamydia, only 25% of women experience symptoms, compared to a 50% rate for men.
Texas is also ranked 4th in the nation for Congenital Syphilis cases. Congenital Syphilis (CS) is a disease that occurs when a mother with syphilis passes the infection on to her baby during pregnancy. This is a serious condition that can result in birth defects, premature births, and even miscarriages. However, treatment is available, both for women who have syphilis and babies who are born with CS. The best way to prevent this is to not only be proactive about getting regular STI/STD testing if you are sexually active, but to also ask for a syphilis test at your first prenatal visit after learning you are pregnant.
What Does an STD/STI Test Entail?
The good news is that getting an STI test is a quick and painless process. Typically all that is required is a urine and blood sample, although in some cases where physical symptoms are present, a swab of the affected area may be needed. Your doctor or physician can then answer all of your questions about your results as well as recommend treatment and prevention options.
Contact Pregnancy and Fatherhood Solutions
STIs and STDs, while common, can become a serious concern if they are left untreated, as they can grow in strength and leave you open to risk of other harmful diseases. If you have been sexually active, it’s recommended that you get an STI test sooner rather than later. At Pregnancy and Fatherhood Solutions, we offer comprehensive information on STDs and STIs, as well as referrals for confidential testing in your area. Our staff is also here to answer any questions you may have about your sexual health. Call us today at (915) 249-1344, schedule an appointment online, or walk into one of our centers at any time.