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Suitable for Work Sex Ed: STI or STD?

Health • by Paul De Beyer • 14 January 2022

Did you know that Netflix’s TV show Sex Education was trending in South Africa not so long ago? And it has trended as each season is released. For those who haven’t seen it, the series focuses on a group of British school kids as they navigate their introduction to sex and sexual education.

Now, sexual education in South African schools might look a little different to that in the UK, but the trials and tribulations those teenagers go through in the show resonates across borders. The concern of losing one’s virginity, getting pregnant or contracting an STI or STD remains the same wherever you are in the world.

But what exactly is an STI? Or, even, an STD?

The trick is in the name. An STI is a sexually transmitted infection, while an STD is a sexually transmitted disease. The main difference is that not all diseases start as an infection, which is when a bacteria or virus enters the body and starts to grow.

Similarly, not all infections become diseases, which is when there‘s a disruption to the body’s normal functions. So you could become infected and not have a disease, contract a disease and never become infected, or simply become infected and have that infection turn into a disease.

Does it change my course which version I get?

So, STI or STD, in the end it doesn’t matter which came first or how they are connected. The bottom line is that you should try to avoid any and all of them. Best ways to avoid any nasty surprises is to be careful who you sleep with, always use a condom and, above all else, get tested often.

What kinds of symptoms can I expect?

Nothing fun, that’s for sure. Contracting an STI or STD can be a little confusing because you can be totally symptom-free and pass it on to others, or have a flare-up of symptoms a while after you sleep with someone with a disease or infection.

Here are a few main symptoms to watch out for:

How do I know if I have one?

Not to sound too repetitive here but: get tested! Sounds scary, you know, with needles and what not. But it’s really not.

Getting tested for STIs and STDs is something we should all do, regardless of our sexual orientation or relationship status. If you’re sleeping with multiple partners, then getting tested regularly, even if you’re using condoms, is a must.

If you’re monogamous with one partner, then you should both get tested before choosing to change contraception methods.

GetSavvi Health members have access to Preventative Benefits which include tests like pap smears and vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B, as well as as HIV/Aids treatment and medication as part of their daily benefits.

What do I do if I test positive?

First off, make an appointment with your doctor. Some STIs and STDs are very treatable. However, some are incurable and need to be properly managed through medication and counselling.

Remember, as a GetSavvi Health member you have access to a 24-hour Health Advisor hotline for health advice, as well as a 24-hour Counselling hotline if you need to talk to someone.

If you need to know more about your GetSavvi Health benefits, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0861 18 92 02.

 

References:
STD vs STI: Common Types, Symptoms, and Treatment
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
The One Difference Between STIs and STDs — and How to Minimize Your Risk
STD or STI, What’s the Difference?
Sex Education (TV series)

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