A new Island Chlamydia campaign has been launched to encourage cinema goers to go to the ‘big screen’.
The new campaign aims to encourage more under 25s to say yes to a Chlamydia screening after a survey warned that ignorance among young people is fuelling the spread of Chlamydia.
Joanne Howe, Chlamydia Screening Project Worker for NHS Isle of Wight said, “Chlamydia really is a serious infection, but one that is easily treatable. Many young people don’t know how and where to get tested and our new posters aim to promote our easily accessible, confidential service. Chlamydia often has no symptoms so I would urge everyone under 25 who is sexually active to use our free and confidential service and get tested.”
A recent Government survey of 2,000 people highlighted that although 78 per cent of young people know that Chlamydia is the most commonly diagnosed STI in England, 90 per cent did not get tested before starting a new relationship. The survey also highlighted that 65 per cent don’t use a condom when having sex with a new partner for the first time and one in five did not know that Chlamydia can affect women’s fertility.
On the Island 73% of all new Chlamydia cases between 2000 - 2007 were in the 16-24 age range. Whilst Island Chlamydia screening rates are excellent, with 2,445 people being screening on the Island in 2008-09, when compared nationally, only 15.8 per cent of 15-24 year olds were screened last year.
The campaign is aimed at high-risk groups and highlights that Chlamydia tests are completely free and involve nothing more than a quick urine sample. Young people are being encouraged to phone the Island Sexual Health Service on 0800 282 930 and the posters direct young people to www.wish-net.co.uk and www.ruthe1.co.uk.
Poster slogans include, ‘be a star of the big screen’ and ‘you might think your safe, but a hidden horror is waiting to strike’ each aiming to encourage more Chlamydia screenings. The slogans ‘sex, not such a sticky subject’ and ‘Chlamydia doesn’t care who you are, so talk to someone who does’ also encourage young people to talk about sex and contraception.
Bus advertising has also been in place for several months on Southern Vectis buses, highlighting that Chlamydia is invisible, but serious and easily spread.
The Island poster campaign launch also marks the start of the new national campaign ‘Contraception, Worth Talking About’ (www.nhs.uk/worthtalkingabout/), encouraging young people to have normal conversations about sex and contraception as nearly sixty thousand 15-24 year olds, tested positive for Chlamydia last year.
The national campaign addresses the fact that one in seven (14 per cent) of the young people surveyed said they were worried about taking the Chlamydia screening test because they didn’t know what was involved. Almost the same number (16 per cent) said they would find it embarrassing.
Gillian Merron, Public Health Minister, said: “Chlamydia is a silent infection that can have serious consequences. Young people sometimes feel too embarrassed to ask for the test even though they know it is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the UK.
“The Government’s Chlamydia, Worth Talking About campaign is designed to encourage normal conversations about sexual health, relationships, contraceptive choices and protection against STIs.”
Notes for Editors
The DOH press release, ‘Ignorance and indifference risks spread of Chlamydia’ can be found here: http://nds.coi.gov.uk/Content/detail.aspx?NewsAreaId=2&ReleaseID=410162&SubjectId=2
Island figures for 2007 are available on our website http://www.iow.nhs.uk/index.asp?record=976 under Sexual Health.