Chlamydia Testing - What's All the Fuss About?
Even though it’s recommended that you get tested regularly for chlamydia and other STIs, going for a sexual health check-up might still be the last thing on your mind. You’ve not got any symptoms, and you haven’t got the time to spare for a trip to the clinic anyway. If you’ve never been tested - or even thought about it for that matter - you might be wondering what all the fuss is about in the first place.
Chlamydia is the most commonly diagnosed STI in the UK, and is most prevalent in 16-24 year olds. In 50% of men and 75% of women it has no symptoms and if left untreated it can cause infertility in both. Is getting tested still at the back of your mind now?
Getting tested for chlamydia might not be the uncomfortable experience that it’s often thought to be. A recent survey by Public Health England (PHE) found that many young people using the National Chlamydia Screening Programme are taking advantage of the whole process not just to get a clean bill of health, but to become more informed on safe sex and more likely to put the advice they’re given into practice.
1,218 young people aged 16-24 who had previously been tested for chlamydia took part in the anonymous online survey, which looked at whether getting tested had had any impact on participants’ sexual health knowledge or healthcare seeking behaviour. In other words: whether they knew how to avoid chlamydia in future, if they were more likely to get tested for chlamydia again and if they were more likely to have fewer sexual partners.
The survey found that for many of the participants, getting tested for chlamydia did have a positive impact on their sexual health knowledge and their healthcare seeking behaviour. 62% said that they were more likely to use condoms with a new partner, 59% reported they were more likely to know how to avoid chlamydia and 66% said they would be more likely to get tested for chlamydia again.
An increased awareness of the STI and how to avoid it could be down to the fact that 90% of those asked said that they were given sexual health information the last time they got tested. Whether you order a test online or pop into the clinic and see someone face to face, chlamydia screening offers a great opportunity to pass on sexual health information.
It wasn’t just the information given to participants that had an impact on their knowledge - the process of getting tested in itself turned out to be a positive learning experience for most participants. 72% said they were more likely to think getting tested was easy, while 63% said they were less likely to think that testing was painful or uncomfortable (trust us, it isn’t). 54% also said they felt less embarrassed asking for a test in future.
Even though getting tested was made less embarrassing for some, it made no difference for the other 46%. If you still feel a bit too embarrassed to pop to the clinic, our free postal chlamydia testing service freetest.me is available in many parts of the UK. Just search your postcode at freetest.me to see whether your area is covered.