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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What’s the difference between a sexually transmitted disease STD and a sexually transmitted infection STI?

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    Women's Health Queensland Wide provides free health information for Queensland women. View Profile

    Sexually transmitted or transmissible infections (STIs) are infections generally acquired by sexual contact. STIs used to be known as sexually transmitted disease (STDs) or venereal disease (VD). The organisms that cause sexually transmitted infections may pass from person to person in blood, semen, or vaginal and other bodily fluids or from contact during sexual activity, including vaginal, anal or oral sex and sex props or toys. Common STIs in Australia include chlamydia, HSV (herpes simplex virus) and genital HPV (human papillomavirus).
    Some of these infections can also be transmitted non-sexually, such as from mother to infant during pregnancy or childbirth, or through blood transfusions or shared needles.
    It's possible to contract sexually transmitted diseases from people who seem perfectly healthy — people who, in fact, aren't even aware they are infected. Many STIs cause no symptoms, which is one of the reasons experts prefer the term ‘sexually transmitted infections’ to ‘sexually transmitted diseases.’

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