All plants and animals that reproduce sexually
develop sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
They are very common among humans —
up to 75 percent of sexually active women
and men will get an STI of some kind. Unfortunately,
many people consider having STIs to be a moral
issue. The stigma and shame some people feel
because of this may lead them to neglect taking
good care of their sexual health. Please don’t
let embarrassment be a health risk for you.
Speak frankly and openly with your clinician
about your sex life and your sexual health
concerns. Some clinicians won’t ask
— so take charge and speak up.
Medically, an STI is an infection before
and after it causes symptoms and becomes a
disease. An STD — sexually transmitted
disease — is an infection that has symptoms.
Some organizations prefer using the term STD.
Others, including Planned Parenthood, prefer
the term STI because STIs can be passed from
one person to another — even when there
are no symptoms. We want women and men to
understand that they are just as likely to
get an STI from someone with no symptoms as
from someone with symptoms. It’s also
a lot easier to prevent getting most STIs
than it is to treat most STDs.