New figures show that chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the north east, with around 10,000 new cases diagnosed in 2012 alone.*
Healthcare staff from the north east’s chlamydia screening programmes were on hand offering the free chlamydia test on Sunday 3 June and Monday 4 June at the Evolution Festival. Festival goers simply had to pee in a pot in one of the posh loos, and then let the team know whether they wanted to receive their results by text, letter or phone call.
Those who used the posh loos were also given a pair of bright pink pants afterwards, which many wore over their clothes to show that they had taken the test.
Fergus Neilson, sexual health lead at NHS North East said:
“It’s fantastic that so many young people visited our posh loos to get tested during the Evolution Festival. Chlamydia often doesn’t show any symptoms and people who are infected often don’t know they’ve got it, so taking the simple test is often the only way to find out.
He continued: “If left undiagnosed Chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease for women and potential infertility for both men and women. But the good news is that a getting tested is easy and people who test positive can be treated with a free short course of antibiotics. There’s no need to be embarrassed – getting tested is a normal part of looking after not only yourself but anyone you might have sex with in the future.”
This is the fourth consecutive year that staff from the north east’s chlamydia screening programmes have attended the popular Evolution Festival event – which has helped reduce the number of chlamydia cases by three per cent over the past year.
Young people who live in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland who took the chlamydia test at the Evolution Festival were also tested at the same time for gonorrhoea – which has seen an increase of 28 per cent across the north east in the past year.
Young people who didn’t attend the Evolution Festival but want to take the FREE chlamydia test can order it from www.checkyourbits.org or text GREMLIN, with your full name and address to 80010, or telephone 0191 229 2958.
Taking the test is quick, easy, painless, free and confidential. Earlier detection of the disease could also prevent any serious symptoms developing in the future as well as preventing any further spread.
Picture caption: Caroline Allsop, chlamydia screening health advisor (far left), and Adam Morris, chlamydia screening peer educator (far right), with two festival goers who took the test.
Kenny Helyer – communications officer
Tel: 0191 210 6493
Email: kenny.helyer @northeast.nhs.uk
*Health Protection Agency (HPA) annual STI data compiled for England from genitourinary clinics, and from other community-based settings screening for chlamydia. Full 2011 data set available from Thursday 31 May, 09.00, on HPA website