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What are STDs and STIs?

What are STDs and STIs?

3 minute read

Sexually transmitted diseases and infections are some of the biggest risks that come with unprotected sex. But what are they exactly? The Condom Depot Learning Center is going back to basics: What are STDs and STIs?

What are STD/STIs?

STD stands for, sexually transmitted disease. STI stands for, sexually transmitted infection. You may have also heard of these diseases called by an antiquated name, like venereal disease. These are diseases that can be spread through different types of sexual contact. The majority of them are treatable when caught early and can be tested for. Not getting tested can result in dire consequences, including PID (pelvic inflammatory disease).

What is the difference between STDs and STIs?

Medically speaking, diseases are called diseases when they show symptoms. Infections can be asymptomatic but still dangerous. Having an STI doesn’t always mean that you have an STD because it can be asymptomatic. The term STI is a little broader, and is generally preferred by members of the medical community because of this reason; however, oftentimes the two terms are used interchangeably. 

Which diseases are STD/STIs?

There are a number of diseases that can be considered STDs. Generally, they are broken down into four different categories:


  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis
  • Bacterial Vaginosis
  • Shigella
  • Nongonococcal Urethritis (NGU)
  • Cervicitus and Urinary Tract Infections
  • Lyme Disease


  • HIV/AIDs
  • HSV 1 and 2 (herpes)
  • HPV (genital warts)
  • Hepatitis
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV)


  • Pubic lice
  • Trichomoninasis (Trich)


  • Yeast Infections

Who can get STDs?

Who can get STDs | What are STDs and STIs | Condom Depot Learning Center

Anyone who has sexual contact can get STD/STIs. And it isn't limited to penetrative sex, either. Oral and manual sex can also spread STDs/STIs between partners. Even some forms of sex that are protected with a barrier, like a condom, can still be spread through skin-to-skin contact around the condom.

It doesn't matter what your gender is, who you're having sex with, or what type of sex you're engaging in. If you're having sex, you are at risk and you need to be aware.

Can I get sick from having sex with someone who doesn't have an STD but has something else?

Yes. Certain illnesses can still be passed through sexual contact even if they aren't considered to be STDs. These are things that can be transmitted through skin-to-skin or close proximity contact:

  • A cold or flu
  • Ebola
  • Molluscum
  • MRSA
  • Head lice and other parasites
  • And more.

How do I avoid catching or giving STDs?

Doctor | What are STDs and STIs | Condom Depot Learning Center

Learn how to have safe manual, oral, anal, and vaginal sex. Inspect your partner for open wounds or bumps before touching them. Be honest with your partner(s) about your health, even when you aren't in the best of shape. Get the STD checker app. Keep up-to-date on vaccines. See a doctor at least every year, if not every six months, to get tested. Insist on protective sex with new partners and get tested yearly with long-term partners, too. Not to be selfs-serving but buy some dang condoms! Be on alert for symptoms, be educated about potential risks. 

You are the first line of defense in your own health, so be proactive, be paranoid if need be. Just know what you need to know to protect yourself.

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