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Sexual health

Chlamydia screening influences sexual behaviour in young people

Survey responses suggest young people will have fewer sexual partners after being screened for chlamydia.

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Source: Photofusion / Rex Features

Survey respondents said they were less likely to worry that a test would be painful or uncomfortable after being screened for chlamydia

Young adults who undergo chlamydia screening are likely to modify their sexual behaviour and become more confident about having sexual health checks, the results of a survey by Public Health England (PHE) suggest.

An anonymous online survey of 1,218 young people aged 16–24 years in England who had been screened for the infection found 66% were happy to be screened again; 62% agreed to use condoms in future and 30% said they were consequently more likely to have fewer sexual partners.

Most (90%) reported being given sexual health information at the time of screening and 59% said they now knew how to avoid chlamydia. Some 54% said they were less embarrassed about asking for a test in future and 63% said they were less likely to worry that a test would be painful or uncomfortable.

The 2014 National Chlamydia Screening Programme web survey report says: “These findings suggest that chlamydia screening has a wider effect on young adults’ sexual health beyond diagnosis and treatment alone. This will need to be considered in the future development and evaluation of the screening programme.”           

The results of the survey were revealed as PHE and the sexual health charity, Brook , launched an updated guide to the Condom-Card (C-Card) scheme – a free condom distribution initiative for young people.

Young people who register for the scheme are given sexual health advice and are entitled to a number of free condoms which are distributed through outlets such as pharmacies, GP practices and youth centres.

The guide, which updates 2008 guidance, highlights the work of community pharmacies in Hackney, East London, which service around 30% of local scheme registrants and respond to 70% of repeat visits for condom supplies.  

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20065861

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