From 15 November 2007 HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) will be encouraging young people in Birmingham and Solihull to be tested for Chlamydia by handing out test kits across the region.
The charity is working with the Birmingham East and North Primary Care Trust on behalf of all Birmingham and Solihull NHS Trusts and hopes to get more people taking the test by targeting15-24 year olds at universities, colleges, shopping centres and workplaces.
Approximately one in ten young people have chlamydia but many don’t have any symptoms so it’s essential that the number of young people taking a test increases. If left untreated chlamydia can lead to serious health problems, including infertility.
The chlamydia test does not involve any examination and is done by the young person themselves, either by providing a urine sample or a self swab. Results are available within a week and can be texted directly to the young person’s mobile phone or emailed confidentially. For those who test positive and their sexual partners, antibiotics to treat the infection are provided free of charge. All treatment and follow up services are provided by Heart of Birmingham Primary Care Trust.
Jane Morel, Regional Manager at Terrence Higgins Trust in the West Midlands said “It is really important that as many young people as possible come forward for Chlamydia screening – the high levels of infection amongst young people means that anyone in this age group who is sexually active may have been at risk. We must convince young people to think ahead and realise that they may end up with serious health problems or facing the heartbreak of infertility due to an undiagnosed infection which is easily treated with antibiotics.”
Terrence Higgins Trust are also asking for parents, employers, education providers and young people’s services to support this work by giving workers the opportunity to talk to young people about Chlamydia in a wide variety of settings.
Sexual Health Commissioning Manager, David Walker, from Birmingham East and North Primary Care Trust said: “Chlamydia infection can lead to serious health consequences, but it is easy to diagnose and treat. We urge all sexually active 15 to 24 year olds to have a test for their health and peace of mind. Remember that Chlamydia can also affect their partners, making it all the more important to be tested.”