eli5: Why did we go from calling sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) to sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?

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eli5: Why did we go from calling sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) to sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?

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There really isn’t a difference. I mean STIs don’t get to a disease state. Really it’s just to put the person at ease. An infection usually goes away, a disease sounds long term.

Before STD, they were called “venereal diseases” or VD, but ultimately, the label doesn’t matter. It’s just a class of infections that are primarily spread through sexual contact.

I think it is just slightly more technically correct for what we want to talk about.

My understanding is that:

* A ‘disease’ is generally thought to be the collection of symptoms that someone suffers.
* An ‘infection’ is generally thought to be some pathogen/germ in/on your body.

They are linked, but not exactly the same.

* For instance, you can be infected, but not show symptoms yet.
* Or you can be infected, but only be a ‘carrier’ and never experience the disease itself, only spread the infection to others.
* (EDIT: and, while I think not the case for sexually transmitted problems, many diseases are not caused by infection.)

So if we talk about STDs, what if someone is infected but hasn’t got the disease yet, or are only a carrier? Should we say they are “STD free”? Technically that’s true, but it is misleading. If we say they “have an STD” well, that gives a better idea, but is technically false.

If we move the focus to infection, that might be more useful, and avoid risk of confusion there.

Because infections don’t necessarily cause disease, and often times disease only happens some time after the infection. A person can be infected with herpes and not see symptoms for months, years, or maybe never at all.

Also, HIV is an infection not a disease. The disease it causes is called AIDS