Health warning over sex infection rise

ONE in ten young people in Suffolk are infected with chlamydia, it has been warned today.Today a sexual health expert for Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT) pledged to do more to tackle both issues by making it easier for young people to access vital services but also warned that youngsters need to use condoms in a bid to cut the spread of the disease.

ONE in ten young people in Suffolk are infected with chlamydia, it has been warned today.

Today a sexual health expert for Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT) pledged to do more to tackle both issues by making it easier for young people to access vital services but also warned that youngsters need to use condoms in a bid to cut the spread of the disease.

And as the disease does not show symptoms, some sufferers may not even know they have it.

The news comes as new Government figures revealed that in 2006, 412 young girls under the age of 18 became pregnant - albeit a drop since 1998 which saw 439 cases of teenage pregnancy.


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Norman Foster, the PCT's integrated sexual health lead, said: “Young people tend to think that condoms are just a means of contraception.

“Condoms are not just a form of contraception but also help in the prevention of STIs.”

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Mr Foster said that the disease can affect sufferers later in life and urged people to get themselves checked out.

He said: “Ten per cent of under 25s having chlamydia is quite a worrying statistic.

“It can be very nasty later in life and in extreme can cause infertility, and as it is asymptomatic that is very worrying.

“It is important that young people who might have picked it up do know about it and can get checked.

“The pregnancy rates show the excellent progress we've made with the help of Connexions and 4YP.

“What we need to do now is look at pockets of the county which still have high rates because I'm sure there will still be concerning hotspots. If we can tackle those we can also tackle health inequalities.”

And Mr Foster said the PCT was currently trying to do more to help young people access the sexual health services which would help stop unwanted pregnancies and cut sexually transmitted infection rates.

He said: “We're looking at integrating sexual health services across Suffolk.

“There will be more one stop shops were young people can get the help, closer to their homes.

“It is about brining the service to them and making it easier for them to access.”

In addition to offering more help and information to young people he also urged them to make sure they protected themselves.

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For more information about chlamydia visit www.amiclear.com.

Does more need to be done to tackle chlamydia and teenage pregnancy rates? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

The figures

Between January and December last year 3,404 under 25s were tested by Suffolk PCT as part of the national chlamydia screening programme. Of those tested 8.8per cent were found to be infected. However Mr Foster said the infection rate in the county was higher as the screening programme did not take into account people who saw their GPs or other health professionals.

Teenage pregnancy rates in Suffolk had fallen from 37.5 pregnancies in every 1,000 girls aged 15 to 17 in 1998 to 30.8 pregnancies in every 1,000 girls in 2006 - a fall of 17.9pc.

The reduction was the fourth largest in the east over this period.

chlamydia

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI)

In the UK the number of new diagnoses has been steadily increasing each year since the mid-1990s, and it is now the most commonly diagnosed STI

Sexually active women aged under 25 have a one in ten chance of getting chlamydia

Men aged between 20 and 30 are most at risk of becoming infected

Chlamydia sometimes has no symptoms, however once the infection has been diagnosed it is treatable

You cannot catch chlamydia by using the same toilet seat as someone who is infected, and it cannot be transmitted through swimming pools or saunas

Chlamydia can be successfully prevented by using condoms

SOURCE: NHS Direct

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