The association of a sexually transmitted disease (STD) with symptoms is one factor that differentiates it from sexually transmitted infections (STI).
This difference presents a load of implications especially in full view of the costs and setting of screening tests. Semantically, STI is an all-inclusive term that represents the former term, venereal diseases.
A less complicated version of the distinction between an STD and an STI is AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). AIDS comes as a result of an HIV infection.
The vice versa is not true because not everyone with HIV has AIDS.
AIDS can be described as an infection with HIV at the symptomatic stage. This means that there are significant symptoms of HIV in a person being described as having AIDS.
The STD symptoms in AIDS present a sort of evidence that a person’s immune system has weakened and therefore predisposed to other infections known as opportunistic infections.
This difference between STIs and STDs poses significant implications in regards to how they are screened or tested. A simpler breakdown would be, a disease will only be tested upon suspicion based on the presence of an indicator of illness.
On the other hand, an infection can only be screened on suspicion that a person is highly likely to be ill even though such indicators of illness are absent.
This is to say that screening tests can be done based on risk factors that include; obesity, high blood pressure, sexual activity and genetic factors including family history etc. while STD testing can be done for confirmation or exclusion purposes.
Additionally, the difference also affects the setting and cost of testing. For instance, a health insurance company will pay for the costs of a test that has been ordered by a doctor because of an indicator of an STD.
That is one hand; the other is that the individual tested is personally responsible for the costs of STI screening upon a physician’s order.
A health insurer carries out an investigative research on whether the services offered to her client were appropriate in view of the reasons they were provided.
Every insurable service, be it a laboratory test or a diagnostic test, has CPT code and an ICD-10 code respectively, unique codes designated for services offered. She then compares the two codes to determine whether they match and are part of the benefit plan. STD/STI tests should, therefore, justify payment of the claim.
STI screening costs are very expensive. One reason for this is because they are ordered, usually, from the doctor’s office. This basically means that they are not covered by insurance.
Such a setting does not order comprehensive screening, thus, does not include an examination of wellness, and the reason is simple, there are no symptoms of std.
This option offers a package of comprehensive screening tests, ordering tests privately and confidential test results online and others on specimens collected privately and sent via mail.
The implications, though great, should increase the populations understanding of these tests. This, in turn, will reduce the transmission rates and hopefully increase the screening rate and put a halt to the runaway epidemic in our society.
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