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A blog item by Freetest.me
posted on the 11th of April 2014.

Freetest.me Universities Rate Highly in Sexual Health Report Card

Sexually transmitted infections are easy to push to the back of your mind, but with rising rates and almost three quarters of new diagnoses among those aged 16-24, sexual health is especially important at university.

Chlamydia, the most common STI shows no symptoms in most cases, however if left untreated can cause serious health issues such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility. Some reports suggest that up to one in four students report having contracted a sexually transmitted infection during their first year at university, with Chlamydia being by far the most common.

It’s therefore important for universities to take sexual health seriously, and that’s why Superdrug has released its Sexual Health Report Card – letting students know which universities are providing the best sexual health services. It’s Bristol that tops the list as the UK University with the best sexual health services, according to the report, and it’s followed by Nottingham, St Georges, University of London, Dundee and Leeds.

For us at freetest.me (the leading provider of free online chlamydia test kits via www.freetest.me), it’s no surprise to see some of our most active areas at the top of that list, with the top 6 universities in England being in regions that provide the freetest.me chlamydia testing service. It’s great to see the regions that we work with, and the Universities within them share our ambition to provide the best and most accessible sexual health services in their communities.

Unfortunately, despite Bristol being praised for its “forward-thinking delivery methods” the region has recently stopped funding the freetest.me postal test kits, which tested over 2200 young people in the city each year and was described by patients as “top notch” and “If Carlsberg did chlamydia tests..!” in recent online reviews (www.trustpilot.com/review/freetest.me).

It is equally unsurprising to us that full freetest.me is not commissioned to provide screening in any of the bottom 10 rated universities. The report states that the bottom rated locations have “significant room for improvement” – we’d like to suggest they start by offering the freetest.me service!

Tim Alston, Technical Director at Preventx, the company behind freetest.me says “We receive 1000s of visitors every week looking to get tested, yet we’re unable to offer a free postal test kit in areas that haven’t commissioned the freetest.me service. We ask them what they’ll do next, and over 80% say they’ll simply ‘not bother’ to seek testing elsewhere – it’s really disappointing”.

The top ten in full are:

1: University of Bristol
2: University of Nottingham
=: St. Georges, University of London
4: University of Dundee
5: University of Leeds
6: University of Cambridge
=: Loughborough University
8: University of Edinburgh
=: Kings College London
10: University College London

Here are the bottom ten, named and shamed:

41: University of Southampton
=: University of St. Andrews
=: Queen Mary's University London
=: University of Surrey
46: Swansea University
47: University of Birmingham
48: City University London
=: University of Reading
49: University of East Anglia
50: Cardiff University

Download Press Release

A blog item by Freetest.me
posted on the 11th of January 2014.

Tuesday 14th January is National STI-Q Day 2014

Tuesday 14th January is National STI-Q Day 2014

National STI-Q Day is held every January 14th - two weeks after New Year, and a month before Valentines Day. The awareness day was launched in order to encourage young people to take a moment to think about their sexual health - it's a day to ask questions about sexual health, and maybe to question your own sexual health.

Two weeks is the time after which common STIs such as Chlamydia can be detected with a simple STI test kit.

Nobody likes to think that they could have a sexually transmitted infection, yet anyone who has ever had unprotected sexual contact (including, for example, oral sex) could be at risk.

Although many people don't think they've got an STI, around 1-in-12 of those who get tested find that they are infected with one, and some with two or more! This may sound surprising, but as some of the most common STIs (such as Chlamydia) often don't show any symptoms, most people who have the infection wouldn't even realise.

Have you ever had unprotected sexual contact? Do you think you may have be at risk from an STI? Would you like to get tested for Chlamydia or other STIs? - Even if you only answered 'yes' to the first question, you could be at risk - there's just one way to be certain if you've become infected - get an STI test!

To read more about STI-Q Day, see www.stiq.org.uk.

A blog item by Freetest.me
posted on the 23rd of October 2013.

One in Four Students Contract an STI in Their First Year of University

One in Four Students Contract an STI in Their First Year of University

Up to a quarter of students report having contracted a sexually transmitted infection during their first year at university, it has been revealed.

The figure illustrates both the importance of safe sex and regular sexual health check-ups (such as using free online Chlamydia testing service www.freetest.me).

Research carried out by Student “dating" website Shag At Uni found that 9 out of 10 students didn’t practice safe sex by using condoms with the majority of their partners. Almost three quarters admitted most of their sexual encounters took place while they were drunk, and more than half said they could not remember who passed the infection on to them.

The survey also revealed 23% of students had caught an STI from a sexual partner during their first year of studying at university. A further 21% admitted contracting an STI after their first year at university.

When asked to divulge which sexually transmitted infection (if any) they had caught during their time at university, Chlamydia emerged as the most likely STI, with 59% of students admitting they’d caught it, with herpes and genital warts following behind with 18% and 14% respectively.

The most diagnosed STI in the UK is Chlamydia, and it’s more prevalent in those under 25 years old, with 1 in 12 testing positive for the infection. Chlamydia has no noticeable symptoms in the majority of cases, yet left untreated can cause serious health problems in later life including infertility.

Condoms are the only method of contraception that can help protect against STIs and unplanned pregnancy.

Students – enjoy sex but also play safe, and take back control of your sexual health - get tested for Chlamydia at www.freetest.me!

A blog item by Freetest.me
posted on the 12th of June 2013.

Students: Get Tested Summer 2013!

Students: Get Tested Summer 2013!

Students - whether in your first or final year of University you should always be keeping an eye on your sexual health. The summer vacation is a great time to get tested for chlamydia, whether you are working, travelling, returning home or graduating.

This summer freetest.me wants you to get tested for Chlamydia with our 'Students: #GetTested Summer 2013' campaign. We want you to get a clean bill of sexual health for next year and help you get the most out of sex. There has never been a better time to get tested: put the past nine months of studying and partying behind you and take control of your sexual health.

Why should students get tested for Chlamydia this summer?

Chlamydia is the most common STI in the UK, and students in particular are at high risk of contracting Chlamydia: high rates of sexual partners and activity during University increases your exposure to Chlamydia. 64% of all Chlamydia diagnoses in 2012 were with people under 25 years old, and 1 in 12 young people test positive for the infection! During your time as a student you are probably more likely to contract Chlamydia than at any other point in your life!

Unlike other STIs, Chlamydia is easy to pass on or pick up unwittingly because it's often impossible to tell if you or your sexual partner has been infected. 

The Chlamydia infection has no noticeable symptoms in 75% of women and 50% of men, yet left untreated can cause serious health problems in later life including infertility.

The only way to know if you don’t have Chlamydia and avoid these long term problems is by getting tested.

While we find the summer months are quieter with less people getting tested, the percentage of our patients that find they test positive for the infection remains consistent all year round. Chlamydia is still prevalent during the summer months, making testing is just as important throughout the year as it is during term time.

Regular Chlamydia testing is essential!

You should order a free test if:

  • you have had a new sexual partner since your last test
  • you have not had a Chlamydia test for over a year
  • you have never been tested and are sexually active

Whether you have had a test before or not most people under 25 should get tested for Chlamydia on a regular basis, either after each new sexual partner or every year. Getting tested at the end of each academic year in the summer allows you to take full control of your sex life: make this summer your time you get tested for Chlamydia.

If you fall into one of these categories you should order a free Chlamydia test this summer, but don’t feel worried or embarrassed: our test is free, easy to use and confidential, and the infection is easily treated with a simple course of antibiotics.

Even if you are not at University over summer the freetest.me service covers large areas of the UK: if you are at home there is a good chance you will be covered - simply enter your postcode on our website, www.freetest.me, to see if you are eligible. Our test kits can be easily used in the comfort of your own home.

Students – enjoy sex and use the summer break to take back control of your sexual health at www.freetest.me!  

Join the freetest.me online community to find out more about STIs, Chlamydia testing and how to practice safe-sex.

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@freetestme


A blog item by Freetest.me
posted on the 5th of June 2013.

Chlamydia on the Rise in England

Chlamydia on the Rise in England

A report published by Public Health England (PHE) claims that STIs being diagnosed are up 5% in England.

The data shows that 450,000 STIs were diagnosed in the UK last year. PHE’s report shows three key points about STIs in England:

  • that the increase in STIs being diagnosed is due to an increased availability of screening;
  • practicing safe-sex and getting tested regularly is essential;
  • and keeping the Chlamydia screening programme available and open, especially for under 25s, is important for the future treatment of STIs.
In short checking your sexual health by using services such as freetest.me's free chlamydia tests helps underpin and implement PHE's recommendations on STIs and that today there is an even greater need to get tested for Chlamydia.

Dr Gwenda Hughes, PHE head of STI surveillance, explains how the increase in diagnosing Chlamydia is due to the general increase in testing for STIs in England:

"There have been significant improvements in screening in recent years, particularly for gonorrhoea and chlamydia among young adults and men who have sex with men, so we are diagnosing and treating more infections than ever before."

Freetest.me's free Chlamydia testing service is part of this trend: we have had an increase in the volume of people being tested over the past four years:

We now have 1000s of visitors come to the freetest.me website every week looking for a Chlamydia test from all across the country and we are proud to be contributing to the relative success of testing, diagnosing and treating more cases of Chlamydia than ever before in England.

Dr Gwenda Hughes also explains how the data highlights the need for safe-sex and regular testing for the most at risk group of under 25s who provide almost 64% of all Chlamydia positive test results:

"However, these data show too many people are continuing to have unsafe sex, put themselves at risk of STIs and the serious consequences associated with infection, including infertility."

Freetest.me thoroughly supports PHE's health recommendations that to significantly reduce your risk of contracting Chlamydia you should:

  • be screened for chlamydia every year, and on change of sexual partner.
  • always using a condom when having sex with casual and new partners.

We strongly encourage anybody under 25 to practice safe-sex and to get tested for Chlamydia and other STIs regularly.

PHE's report highlights the importance of keeping the availability of Chlamydia testing, due to its success, as open as possible and states that "local authorities should continue to integrate chlamydia screening into broader health services".

This is conclusive with our own research that shows 90% of our visitors say that if they can't request a test from us, they "probably won't bother to get tested".

Keeping postal screening services available and free for young people is important, but it's also critical to provide a streamlined service that young people. This is something that freetest.me have developed over the last 4 years - our website is well promoted, our order process is simple and our kits easy to use - all backed up with a state-of-the-art laboratory facility.

All this data and news coverage boils down to one simple message: if you are under 25 you are at a greatly increased risk of contracting Chlamydia - take precautions and get tested!

There's really no excuse not to take responsibility over your own sexual health - simply log on to freetest.me, enter your details and you will be posted a Chlamydia test kit.

The report has featured on the following news sites:

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