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STDs vs. STIs

Why Are STDs Now Called STIs?

I'm sure many of you were taught about STDs in your sex ed class yet you've probably noticed that I refer to them as STIs, so why the change in terms?

STD stands for sexually transmitted disease. STI stands for sexually transmitted infection. STI is a more politically correct term, since the word disease can have negative connotations or social stigmas attached. Plus, when people think of diseases, they think of something you get and have forever, but many STIs are curable, so using the term infection is actually more accurate. The term disease also implies that a person has visual symptoms, which is not always the case with STIs. Many of them such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and HPV are asymptomatic. So for all these reasons, the term STD is gradually being replaced with STI. What do you think about the switch?


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endlessbliss endlessbliss 8 years are very well educated and I highly respect what you said and agree. People have this misconception that if you have an STD/STI, you sleep around with a lot of people, you don't use safe sex, etc. Its bull. Condoms are not 100% effective against herpes and HPV. Anyone who has any form of sexual activity (oral, anal, or vaginal) can get an STI/STD and you may not even realize you have one because chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HPV can be asymptomatic, especially in women (up to 80%). There is a negative stigma because people don't educate themselves and are of the opinion that only people that "sleep around and don't use protection" get STDs/STIs. You can get an STD if you are a virgin and have protected sex with a partner who has had several partners and has an infection that the condom does not cover. This happened to my friend. Granted, an STD/STI is not a good thing, but people don't need to look down on others for getting one or having one. Having multiple partners just puts you at a higher risk. And using protection is not "safe sex" it's just "less risky" sex. The way to prevent so many STDs from spreading is mainly for people to get tested often before and after each partner, to limit the number of partners, to become educated about STDs outside of what they teach people in high school bc that is pathetic, and to get rid of the stigma. The stigma attached contributes to why it is spread, because people don't want to talk about it because they are afraid of being embarressed, mocked, criticized, etc. If people aren't willing to talk about it, then they aren't going to tell their partners and its going to continue to spread like wildfire.
rpenner rpenner 9 years
claps to bella
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
STI sounds better to me especially for the curable ones.
STDs should have a negative stigma to them. Otherwise, how would we encourage people to have safe sex. You certainly don't want people to see them in a positive light. They can cause lifelong effects and symptoms. When, what 4/5 teenage girls, have an STD of some sort, we certainly shouldn't be making them a "rite of passage." Just because a lot of people contract an STD as some point in there life, doesn't make it ok!
antibalas antibalas 9 years
7kimba7, condolences to your friend for dealing with a medical condition that has an emotionally trying slant. Lambsauce, thanks for perfectly articulating why regardless if it ends in "disease" or "infection", "sexually transmitted"-anything is a kin to wearing a scarlet letter.
cereal_please cereal_please 9 years
But you can't get rid of herpes/AIDS! I'm kind of paranoid about those, so i think it's fair to call them diseases.
Lambsauce Lambsauce 9 years
Maybe it's just me, but I think that "STI" has the same stigma as "STD". It really doesn't seem any different in my mind. I'm probably going to keep calling it STD for at least a few years, out of habit. I really think it's more the "sexually transmitted" part that carries the stigma than the third word. As in, "oh, you got this disease/infection from having sex, you must be dirty and promiscuous" (note that I am NOT saying I personally believe that people with STIs are, I am completely aware of everything Bella said, I'm just saying that that's the general take on STIs that I've experienced).
heineken67 heineken67 9 years
STI emphasizes the infectious nature of the condition, the potential lack of symptoms or obvious disease, and the fact that some types (like gonorrhea) can be cured and then caught again. It will be a little hard to make the mental switch in vocabulary, but I think it's for the best. In the early 1990s the popular name changed from VD (venereal disease) to STD, so I think it can change again.
7kimba7 7kimba7 9 years
Thank you for posting this! I was wondering why it was suddenly STI. And for the record, a good friend of mine got HPV from her cheating husband, so not everyone who gets an STD/STI is a ho/promiscuous or whatever.
cubadog cubadog 9 years
Golf claps Bella. I hope all of you that are so quick to judge and fault people aren't ever in the unfortunate position of dealing with any STD or STI. Nobody is perfect just like protection isn't 100% perfect.
LadyP LadyP 9 years
Also, I know there are the ocassional "one night stands" and I'm not condeming that but I think people should know that diseases are out there and noone is exempt from getting them. STD's/STI's are increasing daily and I would think that women would be more careful, and men as well.
Marci Marci 9 years
Bravo, Bella!
kh61582 kh61582 9 years
Enough with this PC crap! STD carries a stigma and rightly so. I'm not saying everyone who has an STD is at fault but frankly a lot of people have unsafe sex and sleep around too much and an STD is the price you pay for that. If someone doesn't want the stigma of an STD then maybe they should be more careful. Once again I know it isn't always that persons fault. Sometimes your boyfriend cheats or that sort of thing but to my knowledge that is a not the most common way of contracting an STD.
LadyP LadyP 9 years
Either way, they are both disgusting and people should have enough common senst to protect themselves during sex.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
Very well put Bella!
lawchick lawchick 9 years
Great comments, Bella
Beauty Beauty 9 years
I don't think STIs should have a stigma attached to them. Anybody who's had sex can have an STI — and four out of five women, I believe, have HPV. So before we all go pointing fingers, keep in mind that statistically, unless you are a virgin, you probably have HPV. (I do. I found out through an abnormal Pap smear, and it's all OK now. And yes, I've always used condoms — they don't protect fully.) Having a sexually transmitted disease or infection doesn't make you a bad person, it doesn't make you "dirty," and it doesn't mean you've slept with 100 people. I'm glad we're having this conversation — I think so few people talk about health issues regarding sex, and it's such an important thing! Can't wait to see what everyone has to say.
ThePerfectScore ThePerfectScore 9 years
I think STI sounds scarier b/c I'm so used to STD... either way they need to be eradicanted with testing and safe sex....People need to be honest and upfront about their sexual health....
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