Young adults report being offered a chlamydia test has a positive impact on their subsequent healthcare-seeking and sexual behaviour, according to a new Public Health England (PHE) report out today. After testing for chlamydia, 62% of respondents to an anonymous web survey reported they were more likely to use condoms with a new partner and 66% reported they were more likely to test for chlamydia again.
Nine out of 10 respondents to the PHE web survey received sexual health advice alongside their last chlamydia test. Young adults with higher numbers of sexual partners reported testing for chlamydia more frequently. This is encouraging in light of latest PHE data, showing that young adults continue to experience the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections.
As part of an ongoing commitment to improving young adults' sexual health, PHE and Brook have today also launched an updated Condom-Card Scheme guide, "C-Card condom distribution schemes. Why, what and how." Condom schemes, such as C-Card, aim to ensure easy access to sexual health advice and free condoms for young people.
Local schemes have proved a successful element of strategies to reduce unprotected sex, rates of STIs and unplanned pregnancies. The updated guide showcases six years of practitioners' experience commissioning, developing and providing these schemes.
Dr Anthony Nardone, Consultant Epidemiologist at PHE, commented: "Our survey of young adults found chlamydia screening has a positive impact on both health-seeking and sexual behaviour, and provides an important channel for the delivery of safer sex messages to young adults. This enhances the cost effectiveness of chlamydia screening, offering value beyond that of the testing itself."
Simon Blake OBE, Chief Executive of Brook, said: "Young adults remain the age group most at risk of STIs in England. C-Card schemes are an effective way to help young adults take responsibility for their sexual health; providing them with easy access to free contraception, education about sexual health and wellbeing, and are an opportunity to signpost to related services."
The "Components of chlamydia screening & the impact of screening on behaviour: 2014 National Chlamydia Screening Programme web survey report" is available online at: http://www.chlamydiascreening.nhs.uk/ps/resources.asp.