Free screening

PUBLISHED: 09:17 16 November 2007 | UPDATED: 21:52 29 May 2010

FREE screening is available from West Essex PCT to detect Chlamydia - dubbed the silent infection due to it often having no noticeable symptoms. Recent evidence has shown that up to one in 10 sexually active people aged under 25 are unknowingly infected

FREE screening is available from West Essex PCT to detect Chlamydia - dubbed "the silent infection" due to it often having no noticeable symptoms.

Recent evidence has shown that up to one in 10 sexually active people aged under 25 are unknowingly infected with the sexually transmitted infection, which can cause infertility in both men and women.

Alarmingly, 70 per cent of women and half of men who have the infection will exhibit no symptoms at all, making its detection particularly tricky.

Fortunately free testing is now being promoted by West Essex PCT under its "Know Yourself, Know You're Safe" programme.

Louise Palmer, Chlamydia screening co-ordinator, said: "If found early, Chlamydia is easily treated.

"However, if Chlamydia is not treated the infection can spread to other parts of the body and cause serious health problems including infertility in men and women, ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, chronic pelvic pain and swollen, painful testicles.

"The good news is that a simple, confidential self test can determine whether you have Chlamydia or not. If you do have it, a course of antibiotics is all that is needed to get the all-clear.

"The simple solution is to get tested. The test is a painless, quick and easy self test and is widely available at a location near you.

"So don't delay - if you are aged between 15 and 24 get a test today and put your mind at rest."

The test is free, confidential and involves no examination.

Drop-in sessions with free tests are planned over the next few weeks for Saffron Walden and Dunmow.

In Saffron Walden, The Croft Youth Centre in Fairycroft House on Audley Road will host a session between 7.30pm and 9.30pm on Friday December 7. In Dunmow, a drop-in session will take place in Dunmow Youth Centre on North Street between 7pm and 9pm on Friday November 23.

For more information on the Know Your Self, Know You're Safe programme or Chlamydia in general, call Louise Palmer, Cara Sear or Charlotte Riggall in confidence on 01279 698669 or e-mail knowursafe@nhs.net

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