Avoid Giving an Unwanted Valentine's Day Gift this Year

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NHS Inner North West London urges young people to get a chlamydia test to protect themselves and their partner this Valentines Day.

Avoid giving an unwanted Valentine's Day gift this year

Chlamydia is easy to catch but also easily tested for and treated. To get tested you just need to give a urine sample and it's quickly treated with one dose of antibiotics. If left untreated it can have serious consequences, causing infertility, ectopic pregnancy and pelvic inflammatory disease.

Around 12,500 young people in West London could be at risk from the sexually transmitted infection chlamydia, according to a new survey. This figure is calculated by taking the ONS 2009 population predictions for 16-24 year olds in the boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster and Hammersmith and Fulham and the percentage who had unprotected sex over the Christmas party season who have not had a chlamydia test.

Despite chlamydia being highly contagious, often symptomless and having serious consequences, 60% of under-25s who recently had unprotected sex can't say for certain that they have not contracted the sexually transmitted infection (STI).

65% of young people did not ask the person they had unprotected sex with about their sexual history, and 70% say they are 'not worried' about STIs, despite the fact that these infections are increasing, and can have serious consequences.

Chris Morgan, Co-Director of Westside Contraceptive Services who co-ordinate chlamydia screening services across the three boroughs, is urging young people to protect their health and get tested for chlamydia.

"Chlamydia is the most prevalent STI in the UK but because it does not have any symptoms often people have it and do not know about it, despite the fact that it could affect their ability to have children.

"Chlamydia is easy to catch but also easily tested for and treated. To get tested you just need to give a urine sample and it's quickly treated with one dose of antibiotics. If left untreated it can have serious consequences, causing infertility, ectopic pregnancy and pelvic inflammatory disease."

The National Screening Programme recommends all sexually active young people have a chlamydia test annually or in the case of new sexual partners, regardless of whether they display any symptoms. The optimum time to get tested for chlamydia is two weeks after having unprotected sex.

Chlamydia tests are available at a local GP surgery or at one of the drop-in clinics provided by the local community contraception service. Testing in NHS Inner North West London, (NHS Hammersmith and Fulham, NHS Kensington and Chelsea and NHS Westminster) is free and easily accessible and results are treated in strict confidence.

Further findings from the research show:

  • 43% were unaware that you can get tested for chlamydia at the local family planning clinic/contraceptive service
  • 47% were unaware that the test for chlamydia is a urine sample
  • 26% were unaware that in some cases chlamydia can result in men and women being unable to have children

About NHS
The National Health Service (NHS) provides expert information on medical conditions, treatments, local services and healthy living, also providing comprehensive information on Chlamydia and the National Chlamydia Screening Programme.

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Phillipa Jose/Hannah Ready/Nicola Gaskel
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