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Chlamydia is one of the leading sexually transmitted diseases in the UK accounting for around 46% of all STIs diagnosed in 2015. With these people who have be infected with chlamydia, 200,288 chlamydia diagnoses around 70% of females and 50% of males don’t recognise the signs and symptoms which include pain when peeing, unusual discharge from the vagina, penis or rectum, in women, pain in the tummy, bleeding after sex and bleeding between periods and in men, pain and swelling in the testicles. Chlamydia is treated by being given a course of antibiotics that will finish in a week. It is advised that people with chlamydia do not interact in sexual activities until their course of antibiotics are finished.
To help reduce/prevent chlamydia for spreading in communities the NHS established The National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP) in 2003 to ensure all sexually active under 25-year-olds are informed about chlamydia and have access to sexual health services that can reduce risk of infection or transmission. During 2015 over 1.5 million chlamydia tests were carried out among 15-24-year-olds with more than 129,000 diagnoses. There were 9,538 fewer chlamydia diagnoses in this age group in 2015. By having a dedicated health service to help test people of all ages regarding STIs will allow the correct testing and treatment to help prevent the communicable disease for spreading further in communities. The NHS has had a reduction in people coming in for chlamydia testing as the largest change in chlamydia screening between 2016 and 2017 took place in Sexual and Reproductive services, where tests fell by 42% and diagnoses fell by 37%, these falls continue existing trends in SRH, where tests fell by 61% relative to 2015. This is a sign that this public health matter has had positive effects on the community as there is a visible reduction in the amount of people coming in for chlamydia, with this more money can be put into other areas of the NHS.
One of the aspects that could have had a reduction on this number however is the fact that the public is using online STIs detection services as this removes the human interaction of an embarrassing and sensitive topic that could be uncomfortable. These services provide kits to the door for the patient to perform and send back to be tested by themselves in which result can be received through a website. Since 2015, the CTAD Chlamydia Surveillance System has identified NHS/LA commissioned tests ordered through an internet service. Use of this coding has increased year on year, and 132,006 tests and 11,888 diagnoses were reported in 2017. This use of internet services can have a negative impact on the prevention of Chlamydia as the patient using this method won’t receive expertise knowledge for a health profession on how to treat their specific case. The health profession will have had a large amount of experience in swabbing for these diseases correctly and so by removing the health professional from the equation the risk of the chlamydia going undetected increases leading to false positives and thus spreading the infection further in the communities.
Condoms are another method of preventing and protecting against Chlamydia as it will prevent both pregnancy and STIs. There are currently two types of condoms available on the market which include both a male and female version, the male option is the most popular. Condoms are a ‘barrier’ method of contraception. They are made of very thin latex (rubber), polyurethane or polyisoprene and are designed to prevent pregnancy by stopping sperm from meeting an egg and they can also protect against STIs if used correctly during vaginal, anal and oral sex by providing a physical barrier between the skin of the male and female. Condoms can be got for free from a wide variety of different locations including sexual health clinics, some GPs, young people’s services and contraception clinics, even for people under the age of 16. Condoms are known to be effective at preventing cross contamination of fluids as a report in the USA by L M Niccolai confirms. This report used 1455 individuals in which 13.3% of consistent condom users were diagnosed with C trachomatis infection compared to 34.4% of inconsistent condom users. NICE created a new draft in September of 2016 suggesting a new systematic way of distributing condoms to communities as they recognised the positive impact his would have. The committee discussed the cost effectiveness analysis of condom schemes for 28 young people. This used effectiveness data from a multicomponent scheme for 29 school students, who were 1.23 times as likely to use a condom compared with 30 students in a school without a scheme. The scheme involved educating the students to free condoms, and access to telephone counselling. It would potentially prevent over 5,000 STIs.
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