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Study shows chlamydia "harms sperm"

The UK's most common sexually transmitted infection affects a man's fertility by damaging his sperm, experts have said.

Chlamydia, which is often known as the silent disease because it has few symptoms, reduces a man's ability to produce children, they found.

The disease, which is still on the rise in the UK, is more well known for making women infertile if left untreated.

But now researchers, led by Dr Jose Fernandez from Canalejo University Hospital in La Coruna, Spain, have discovered that chlamydia also affects men.

They looked at the damaged sperm of 143 men from infertile couples and compared it with sperm from 50 fertile men.

The infertile men had chlamydia and another common urinary tract infection called Mycoplasma, and the level of damage in their sperm was more than three times higher than that recorded in healthy men.

The concentration of their sperm, its ability to swim quickly and defects in the shape of it were also poor when compared with the healthy volunteers.

The findings were released at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference in Washington DC.

Experts in the UK have been particularly concerned about rates of chlamydia among young people, with the NHS launching a national screening programme.

Dr Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield and Secretary of the British Fertility Society, said more needs to be done to target the younger generation.

He said: "It is the 18 to 25 age group that is of most concern. There should be a page on Facebook you can log onto and sort screening out."

British Fertility Society

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