When it comes to talking about sex, some abbreviations like “STD” or “STI” can sound like “alphabet soup”! Luckily, if you’re having doubts about what “STD” means, whether you are at risk, or whether you have one, you’ve come to the right place for your STD/ STI information!
The terms “Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD)” and “Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)” are often interchangeably used but don’t be confused, they mean the same thing. An STD (or STI) is an infection passed from person to person through intimate sexual contact. Exchanging fluids—whatever they are!
Sexually Transmitted Diseases can be viruses like Herpes and HIV, or bacteria like Chlamydia or Gonorrhea, or even tiny parasites, called Trichomonas. The point is, you can only get one by close sexual contact--not by shaking hands or sharing a glass or even through a quick kiss.
Luckily, there are great online resources to help you determine if you are at risk for STD/STIs and links to tell you where to go for testing and treatment. Check out our teensource STD section for everything to get you started and also Scarleteen.com’s STI Risk Assessment sheet to determine whether you should be tested.