In this post I will discuss the difference between infections and STDS and how they are tested. This is so important because there was a time when I had a yeast infection and I told my boyfriend and he thought he had an STD and was going to die. That is so ridiculous and just not right at all, but I do not blame these men for not knowing the difference. So us women need to know the difference so we can educate the men and ourselves with correct info.
To start, an STD and an STI are two different things. An STI is a sexually transmitted infection, and an STD is a sexually transmitted disease. Having an STI means that an individual has an infection, but that it has not yet developed into a disease. Take HPV for instance: Typically a woman with HPV does not have any symptoms, but she carries the virus. She has an STI; but if she develops cervical cancer from HPV, she now has an STD since cancer is a disease. The same is true for individuals who have chlamydia or gonorrhea cases that develop into pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Not all STIs turn into STDs. The tricky thing is that a lot of STIs do not show symptoms and they can easily turn into STDs if not tested. There are so many conversations about the difference between these two and its almost impossible to get a clear answer online but I believe that they are two different things. Just because you have a STI does not mean you have an STD. So do not be scared to say you have a bacterial infection because it is an infection not an STD!!! If you are unsure about which one you have clarify with your gyno.
There are different ways to test for STDs & STIs. To test for chlamydia and gonorrhea, all that is required is a urine sample and swab. For other STDs like herpes, hepatitis, HIV and syphilis, a small blood sample will be tested. Mostly all STDs are tested through blood and infections are tested through urine and swabs.
Smaller infections such as a yeast or bacteria can sometimes be tested on the spot. During an exam the gyno may recognize a difference in your discharge, red swelling, or a foul smell. These are all symptoms of a yeast infection and sometimes further testing will not be needed. Swabs can also be taken to a microscope and the gyno can examine it for bacteria while you wait in the office. The types of tests you receive all depends on your symptoms and what your doctor thinks is best.
One thing I have learned from my many gyno visits is that it depends on where you go to get tested. This is why I strongly advice going to an actual gyno because not to hate on my school nurses or CityMD but they have no idea what they are doing. The gyno will test you and treat you correctly.
STIs can be easily cured and cleared by antibiotics so it is very important to get tested for these before they develop into something serious and possibly life changing. Symptoms of STIs include and are not limited to:
- An unusual discharge (a different color, smell, or amount) from the vagina.
- A burning feeling when urinating.
- Pain during sex or masturbation.
- Excessive itching in the vagina or labia.
- Unusual bumps or a rash on your genitals.
- Heavier-than-usual bleeding from your vagina.
If you have experienced any of these symptoms it is very important to make a gyno appointment and go get tested asap!!