Youngsters handed DIY sex infection test

YOUNGSTERS in Suffolk were today urged to test themselves for a serious sexually transmitted infection after health chiefs admitted struggling to screen enough youngsters.

YOUNGSTERS in Suffolk were today urged to test themselves for a serious sexually transmitted infection after health chiefs admitted struggling to screen enough youngsters.

NHS Suffolk is aiming to test 17 per cent of all 15 to 24-year-olds in the county for chlamydia during this financial year.

However in the first six months the organisation only reached 4.3pc of the target audience.

To help improve the figure the primary care trust has launched a service which lets young people test themselves for the infection, which can cause infertility, and get the results by text message.


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Pam Frost, who is responsible for chlamydia screening in Suffolk, said reaching the target was challenging but extremely important.

She said: “We have got an action plan in place.

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“We're sending a letter to all 20 to 25-year-olds to raise awareness around chlamydia and in the first week we already had 100 requests for postal kits.

“This approach is more flexible and particularly helps people in rural areas.

“We hope we can reach the target but it is going to be challenging.”

Ms Frost said that the chlamydia screening programme was an ongoing project with the eventual aim of testing 35pc of young people in Suffolk.

However she said she was unable to speak about the impact that the massive changes in sexual health service provision in Suffolk would have on the service.

Currently chlamydia screening is provided by Suffolk Community Healthcare, but from April private company Take Care Now will take over the organisation of sexual health services in Suffolk.

More information about chlamydia and its consequences, along with a list of clinics where screening is available, can be found on www.amiclear.com. Anyone who would like a postal screening kit should contact the chlamydia screening office in confidence on 01473 275228.

What should be done to tackle chlamydia in Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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