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Chlamydia screening-the choice is yours

Date: 19/09/2008           Category: Medway PCT

Checking out Chlamydia and staying healthy just got easier in Medway. With Chlamydia now the most commonly-diagnosed sexually transmitted infection in the country, Medway Primary Care Trust is making it as easy as possible for people to get themselves checked out. Director of Public Health Dr Alison Barnett said: “Chlamydia is an infection that can cause serious health problems if it is not treated, and many people can have the disease without showing any symptoms.” “At Medway we want to give people every opportunity to get themselves checked in a way that is convenient to them, which is why we are now offering a flexible screening programme as well as the chance to test themselves using a kit that they can request to be sent in the post.” The PCT has employed a full-time sexual health outreach nurse who will set up a screening programme. Men and women between the ages of 15 and 24 - the group most at risk from the infection - can now access Chlamydia screening in a choice of places and at times of the day that suit them. The outreach screening programme started on 17 September at Brompton Barracks, Gillingham, and more drop in services will be set up in specific locations across Medway. The PCT hopes to screen 17 per cent of young men and women, by 31 March 2009, in line with national Chlamydia screening targets. Left undiagnosed Chlamydia can lead to diseases of the pelvis, problem pregnancies and infertility. Men can be left with a low sperm count and develop painful swelling of the testicles. The postal screening service was launched earlier this year across Gillingham, Rainham, Chatham, Strood and Rochester. It allows people to provide a sample at home and post it for analysis. Also a range of sexual health services and family planning clinics promote screening and treatment as a priority for young people. PCT Sexual Health Manager Adam Lott said the flexible screening project and postal kits would make it easier for young people to find out whether or not they had been infected and greatly reduce the suffering Chlamydia could cause if left undiagnosed. He said: “Access to a Chlamydia screening service is now easier. Medway has a higher than national average of young people testing positive for the infection. We want to change this with the services and education we provide. “The discomfort caused by obtaining a urine or swab sample for testing far outweighs the long term affects of having this infection, so if you have any concerns, get tested or got to www.whatsinyourpants.co.uk to find out more.“ (Ends)