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Thursday 27th October 2016

Low uptake on chlamydia screening

24th July 2008

A programme to screen young people for chlamydia has fallen well short of its target in its first year.


The chlamydia screening programme in England had a target of screening 15% of the 15-24 age group, but fewer than 5% of people were screened for what is the most common sexual infection, with young people accounting for two thirds of all new cases.

In 2007, there were almost 80,000 new cases in the under-25 age group of a condition regarded as a "silent infection" because it often shows no symptoms but can cause infertility.

One of the problems has been in getting young people involved in the screening programme.

Dr Tim Crayford, president of the Association of Directors of Public Health, which represents the PCT officials overseeing the programme, said it was hard to reach the target age group and that more evidence was needed on how to get them to agree to testing.

He added: "Many screening initiatives, such as breast cancer, rely on 'call and re-call', whereby letters are sent out to women, but this has not really been done for this programme."

The screening programme, with urine tests in contraceptive clinics, GP service and outreach initiatives, was piloted in 2002 and has been gradually rolled out across the country to get it fully operational for 2007-08.

However, just over 319,000 tests were done - 4.9% of the 15 to 24-year-old population with about one in 10 was positive and only three out of 152 PCTs hit the 15% target.


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