Although there are several names to describe sexually transmitted diseases and infections, the words/acronyms are sometimes used interchangeably ie. STD, STI, and VD.  Here we provide definitions of sexually transmitted disease (STD), sexually transmitted infection (STI), and venereal disease (VD) for your review:

  • Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD): Any disease transmitted by sexual contact. Such a diseases is caused by microorganisms that survive on the surface of the skin or mucus membranes within the genital area. They can be transmitted via semen, vaginal secretions or blood during intercourse. Because a person’s genitals are warm and moist, this environment is the perfect breeding ground to spread the bacteria, viruses and yeasts. A great number of diseases can be submitted this way including AIDS, Chlamydia, Syphilis and genital herpes or genital warts.
  • Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI): An infection that can be transferred from person to person through any sort of sexual contact. This sexual contact can include vaginal or anal touching as well as kissing and oral to genital contact. Use of “sex toys” can also spread these infections. Examples of STI’s are AIDS/HIV, Chlamydia and syphilis.
  • Venereal Disease (VD): This is another term for Sexually Transmitted Disease. Again, the disease is passed from one person to another through sexual contact. The diseases spread easily due to microorganisms on the skin through the transference of some bodily fluids like blood and semen.

While there is no difference between Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Venereal Diseases, it is important for adolescents involved in teen sex to understand that there is a slight difference between STD’s and STI’s. Medically speaking, an STI occurs first since the infection happens before the spread of disease. After the infection begins to cause symptoms, it becomes a full-fledged disease. Many types of infections can stay in the infection stage for years. It may take a long time for any sexually-active teen to notice the symptoms since they can take a while to become present on or inside the body causing the infection to become and STD. That is why it is important for all teens who are engaging in sexual activity to get tested regularly for STI’s even if there aren’t any signs or symptoms on the body. Just because they aren’t visibly present, doesn’t mean there isn’t an infection, which can still be spread to other partners. It is important for teens to remember that it is a lot easier to prevent getting an STI than it is to eventually have to treat an STD.