That first year of college is all about freedom for most students fresh out of high school. And for many, this newfound independence includes making choices about sex. But record-high numbers of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and an ever-present risk of HIV infection, can make those “in the heat of the moment” decisions dangerous.
If you are worried about symptoms you or your partner are experiencing or if you simply want to have a screening or a private conversation with a provider, call the clinic. We offer confidential STI screening, evaluation, and treatment.
STI or STD? What’s the Difference?
Diseases that are spread through sexual contact are usually referred to as sexually transmitted diseases or STDs for short. In recent years, however, many experts in this area of public health have suggested replacing STD with a new term—sexually transmitted infection, or STI.
Why the change? The concept of “disease,” as in STD, suggests a clear medical problem, usually some obvious signs or symptoms. But several of the most common STDs have no signs or symptoms in the majority of persons infected. Or they have mild signs and symptoms that can be easily overlooked. So the sexually transmitted virus or bacteria can be described as creating “infection,” which may or may not result in “disease.” This is true of chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and human papillomavirus (HPV), to name a few.
Prevention and Treatment
STIs are transmitted through vaginal, oral, and/or anal contact. Some STIs are transmitted through fluids such as vaginal secretions and semen, while others are transmitted with skin-to-skin contact.
The only way to completely prevent the transmission of STIs is abstinence. In order to reduce the risk of transmission, it is recommended that condoms and/or dental dams be used on a consistent basis.
There are a variety of treatments available for STIs. Some infections are bacterial, such as Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, and can be cured with antibiotics. Other infections are viral, such as Herpes and HIV, and while there are no cures available, there are medications to reduce the severity of symptoms.