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Chlamydia tests not hitting targets

Not enough young people are being tested for chlamydia, according to latest figures from the National Chlamydia Screening Programme.

They show that five of the 10 strategic health authorities - East Midlands, East of England, South East Coast, South Central and West Midlands - failed to reach their targets.

The National Chlamydia Screening Programme reports that an average of 15.9% of 15 to 24-year-olds in England were tested between April last year and March this year. The target was 17%.

London was ahead of the curve on 18.1%, while the South East Coast region lagged furthest behind on just 12.3%.

Testing in community contraceptive clinics, colleges of further education and via postal testing kits and pharmacies was introduced in April 2003.

Last year, 750,000 young people were screened, with a further 305,000 tested outside the programme, for example at doctors' surgeries, but excluding genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics.

An average of 7.3% screened under the programme tested positive. GUM figures for 2007 reveal 79,557 positive tests for 16 to 24-year-olds.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

National Chlamydia Screening Programme

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"I work within the west midlands and what these figures don't take into account is the number of young people who are REFUSING to take the test. Within our area we have starting keeping a record of these numbers to give to the 'powers that be' to show it's not about health professionals not asking or pushing!!" – Sam, West Midlands

"There is still a lack of acknowledgement that this is a preventable infection and one which is easy treated if screening could be offered. Schools have a role in promoting safer sex and the uptake of screening." - Kathy, London

"There needs to be more chlamydia awareness in general practice. It could be achieved if sexual health services were practice based." - C Doyle, Gwent

"As a school nurse working within the West Midlands I am increasingly infuriated with secondary schools in the area as they will not allow the school nurses to hand out self-test kits." - Emma Tomkins, Wolverhampton