Chlamydia has become more prevalent over the last eight years, even though the government has made numerous efforts to curb the STI.
However, this wasn’t always the case. Initially, government campaigns and screening programmes did manage to lower incidences of Chlamydia in the UK. A study from the Public Health England and Imperial College London revealed that a national screening programme reduced the number of people with Chlamydia in the first two years.
A Rise in STIs
So what happened? The number of people who were getting tested dropped, meaning that fewer people were diagnosed. This resulted in an increase of infections, but that isn’t all: it also led to people being infected for longer, which can cause further health problems.
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The screening programme was first launched in 2008, offering free Chlamydia screening kits to people aged between 15 and 24. The service was available in many different GP practices around the UK, and it was also possible to order free testing kits.
This resulted in a year-on-year decline for the first two years of infections rates among both men and women. However, after two years the rate of Chlamydia infections went back up again. This is problematic as Chlamydia can cause further problems if it is left untreated, including infertility in women.
However, Joanna Lewis, co-author of the paper, said that the results are limited by the data. This is because the prevalence of the STI is affected by two things: screening and also sexual behaviour (for example, how many partners people have, and if they use condoms or not).
The Future of Chlamydia in the UK
Thankfully, recent years have seen slightly better results: while the number of infections is still fairly high, there has been a drop in the average length of the infection. This could mean that screening is having a positive effect, which is reassuring.
However, researchers are still concerned about the drop in testing, and they urge anyone who is considering getting tested to do so. This will help to fight against the prevalence of Chlamydia and other STIs, helping to prevent further health problems and issues.