Somerset Young People Warned Check Out The Love Bug, UK

Young people aged 16 to19 will be receiving Valentines letters with a serious message from Somerset health professionals this year as part of an annual campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of Chlamydia, an infection that could wreck their dreams of having a family later on in life.


The Valentine mail shots are being sent to all teenagers in this age bracket, regardless of whether they have ever been sexually active, in a bid to stop the rising levels of Chlamydia across the country. Having sex on just one occasion in your life can lead to this sexually transmitted infection. Alarmingly, most men and women who get Chlamydia are completely unaware they have it.

In Somerset screening test advisors suggest that one in 12 sexually active young people (aged 15 to 24 years old) will test positive. Sufferers will typically have no symptoms, but left undiagnosed and untreated they could face sexual ill health,infertility and other unpleasant physical symptoms.

The mailing of the NHS Chlamydia Screening Service letters coincides with screening events by health professionals around the main college sites. These events are designed to inform young people not only about Chlamydia but other services like the Somerset C Card which enables young men and women to access free condoms at around 200 outlets across Somerset. They also showcase awebsite for Somerset young people where they can access accurate information and services within the county.

Andrew Wilson, Sexual Health Adviser for NHS Somerset said, "This infection is very easy to catch and you only need to have slept with one person to get it. Unfortunately, you will not always know you have Chlamydia but the effects long term could cause infertility. We are hoping to attract the attention of young people, whether or not they have ever had sex or even intend to, so they are aware of the dangers.

"Once you start being sexually active then it is advisable to get tested every year and every time you have a new partner, it is as simple as that.

"When you get the kit just pee (urinate) in the small container provided (or women can choose a low vaginal swab). If you have a black postal kit, use the free post envelope and post it straight to the laboratory for testing. If you have pink or blue kits return them to any GP or contraception clinic.

"The results of your test are confidential and you can choose to have them sent discreetly to you through the post, by e mail or mobile phone text message.

"The test is completely painless and no medical examination is required. If you show positive you will be prescribed a single dose of antibiotics to treat your infection. This is free and can be collected from any Minor Injuries Unit or Contraception and Sexual Health Clinic."

Andrew added, "Chlamydia is particularly worrying because although it often has no symptoms, if it is left untreated it can lead to pelvic infection and infertility in women. It can cause infection of the testicles, reactive arthritis in young men as well as affecting their sperm function, resulting in fertility problems for men too.



NHS Somerset

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