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Peer Challenge
Cape May County, NJ
Atlantic County, NJ
Cumberland County, NJ
(609) 861-2351

How can I tell if someone has an STI?

85% of females and up to 40% of males with chlamydia, the most common bacterial STI, have no early symptoms.  The most prevalent viral STI, HPV (human papilloma virus), can produce warts so small that they can go undetected by the naked eye.  The herpes virus can still be transmitted even when the outbreak is in remission and no blisters or sores are visible. HIV/AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus) is 100% fatal and can remain symptom free for well over ten years. Having no symptoms, however, is no guarantee that someone doesn’t have an STI; and they can still be infecting others.  Anyone who is sexually active has the potential of carrying an STI and should get a periodic check-up where a correct diagnosis can be made either by direct observation, blood test, cell culture or microscopic inspection—depending upon the particular STI.

Because there are more than 25 serious STIs, there are a variety of symptoms that include a rash, blisters, warts or sores in the genital area or a pus-like discharge.  Other symptoms include pain when urinating or during intercourse, itchiness or irritation of the genital organs, swelling of the lymph glands, persistent or recurring diarrhea, jaundice, generalized illness with flu-like symptoms, and unexplained tiredness. Since as many as one in four sexually active teens is infected with an STI and since the majority of them lack any visible symptoms, teens would be wise to postpone sexual activity until marriage.

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