Women offered free infection tests

YOUNG women who request the morning after pill from pharmacies will be offered a Chlamydia test as part of a new service to reduce the number of people with the infection.

YOUNG women who request the morning after pill from pharmacies will be offered a Chlamydia test as part of a new service to reduce the number of people with the infection.

From today, Chlamydia screening kits will be handed out at selected pharmacies for women under the age of 25 to check for the sexually transmitted infection.

The initiative has this week been rolled out by NHS Suffolk in conjunction with the provision of emergency contraception, which can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex or if another contraceptive has failed.

NHS Suffolk, which buys and plans healthcare in the county, hopes the move will increase the number of people screened for Chlamydia, after it failed to reach its target of testing 17 per cent of under-25s last year.

Dr Amanda Jones, deputy director of public health at NHS Suffolk, said: “We are encouraging sexually active young people under the age of 25 to find out if they have Chlamydia and to take a test every year.

“By making the test available through pharmacies, we hope that more young people will check themselves for Chlamydia, a sexually transmitted infection which often gives no signs or symptoms and can lead to long term problems such as infertility.”

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Estimates show that one in ten sexually active young people may have Chlamydia but most people won't know that they have the infection as there may be no signs or symptoms.

The infection can cause long-term health problems such as infertility but testing with the kits is simple and painless and the infection can be easily treated with antibiotics.

The first five pharmacies offering the service are Kew Pharmacy, in Ipswich, Tesco, in Martlesham Heath, Needham Market Pharmacy and the Felixstowe branches of Boots and The East of England Co-op.

To find out if your local pharmacy is taking part visit www.suffolk.nhs.uk.

Do you support the idea? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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