Primary care trust launches self-test for chlamydia

PUBLISHED: 08:45 27 November 2008 | UPDATED: 22:41 15 June 2010

Young people in Devon can now order a free chlamydia self-test online.

Young people in Devon can now order a free chlamydia self-test online.

The new service is a more convenient way for young people to get a free self-test kit. To order a kit they can visit www.freetest.me, request a chlamydia test, and choose how they would like to receive their results - either by SMS text, email or online results tracking - all in complete confidence.

The self-test kit is then posted out with no labels identifying the sender. The kit fits through normal letter boxes and is about the size of a DVD case.

Research from the social networking website Facebook shows more than 70 per cent of young people would prefer to order a free chlamydia test online.

The self-test is free to people under 25.

Beccy Lyons, chlamydia screening co-ordinator for Devon PCT, said: "Chlamydia is a growing problem for young people but it can be easily treated through a short course of antibiotics, available free for under 25s through the NHS."

Dr Gabriel Scally, regional director of public health for NHS South West, said: "Chlamydia is often seen as the 'silent disease' because the symptoms can go unnoticed, but it can become a serious health problem if left untreated.

"It is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the UK and can be passed on during unprotected sex or intimate sexual contact with an infected partner. You don't need to have had a lot of partners to be at risk."

Devon PCT is working closely with local health services to increase the number of chlamydia screenings across the county.

There will be a series of promotional activities in the coming months, targeting the under 25s.

One of the first events the chlamydia screening team will be attending is Exeter University RAG's Safer Sex Ball on 1 December, where they will be giving out condom holders with advice on local screening services.

The PCT has worked closely with groups of young people in the area to design a new checkin' it out theme for its chlamydia screening service. The new theme will be included in all future chlamydia screening promotional material.

In addition, the PCT is to launch a new website dedicated to chlamydia that will offer free postal testing kits, as well as the latest advice and support from qualified sexual health professionals. (www.checkinitout.co.uk)

Dr Virginia Pearson, director of public health, said: "Nationally there has been a low take-up for chlamydia screening, but this is something Devon PCT is working hard to address.

"We have listened to the views of potential service users when designing our new brand and are confident it will lead to an increase in screenings across Devon.


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