Chlamydia :: More people screened for chlamydia in the community

Chlamydia screening levels have increased by more than a third in the past year with nearly 100,000 young people being tested for the sexually transmitted infection through the National Chlamydia Screening Programme, Public Health Minister Caroline Flint announced today.

Since the Programme began in April 2003, screening levels have increased from 18,000 in the first year, to 68,000 in the second year and 100,000 this year. In total more than 180,000 young people have been screened outside genito-urinary clinics.

Another 60 areas are due to begin screening this year as the Programme expands. Screening is offered in a broad range of health and non health settings such as prisons, military bases and colleges.

With one in ten of the young men and women screened testing positive for the disease, during 2007 screening is set to become a routine part of health care for young people as it will be offered across England.

Public Health Minister Caroline Flint said:

“The fact that in the past year record numbers of young people were screened for chlamydia demonstrates our commitment to tackling the prevalence of this disease – which can cause infertility if left untreated.

We have been extremely innovative in our approach in tackling chlamydia as we have made screening available in a wide range of non-traditional or non-medical settings, such as: pharmacies, colleges, military bases and other venues designed to encourage men in particular to get tested.

Without the screening programme the thousands of young people who tested positive and their partners would probably not have found out that they had this treatable disease.

Chlamydia screening will become a routine part of health care for young people.”

Dr Mary MacIntosh Director of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme said:

“Great strides have been made in the past year to increase numbers of young people being screened for chlamydia. The hard work and commitment of our established local programme teams is evident in the large increase in screening reported last year.

“This year the National Chlamydia Screening Programme extends coverage to all areas in England, becoming the first truly national programme. Six million young people under 25 will have access to chlamydia screening during 2007”.

Dr Jan Clarke, Chair of the National Chlamydia Screening Steering Group said:

“This year signals a new scale of operation for the National Chlamydia Screening Programme and new opportunities for young people to access screening across England.

The continued strong Government support for the NCSP as well as the will and commitment at senior levels in the NHS is essential to achieve our main goals.”

A new sexual health campaign will be launched later this year which will target young adults, raising awareness of the benefits of using condoms and the risks of unprotected sex.

1. The National Chlamydia Screening Programme offers opportunistic screening to sexually active men and women under 25, across a broad range of settings and also aims to improve general sexual health awareness. ?80 m over two years has been invested to make sure the chlamydia screening programme is available throughout the country during 2007.

2. Public Health minister Caroline Flint presented the Annual Report of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme 2005 / 06 at the programme’s third Annual Conference held in London on the 1st November 2006. Further information can be found at the conference website at http://www.hpa-events.org.uk/ncspconference

3. Latest data shows:
Since the National Chlamydia Screening Programme began in April 2003, screening levels have massively increased;18,000 in the first year, 68,000 in the second year and 100,000 in the third year.
Screening occurred within a wide range of settings, both clinical and non healthcare; NHS, independent, community and voluntary organisations
Positivity levels are similar in men and women
Numbers of men screened continues to increase and was 18 per cent last year

4. The Department of Health is also piloting a two year NHS chlamydia testing scheme in Boots pharmacies aimed at 16 – 24 year olds across London – making it easier for young people to access chlamydia testing on the high street. Nearly 28,000 kits have been issued to date.

5.The London pilot is being independently evaluated by TNS Healthcare and their first report is available on the DH website.

6. Chlamydia is one of the most common Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), affecting as many as one in ten sexually active young men and women but can be easily cured with antibiotics. However, if untreated in women it can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility.

Sub-editor

Chlamydia :: More people screened for chlamydia in the community
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