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The Sun reported last month that footie fans will be offered chlamydia tests at stadiums. It’s part of a push by the Health Protection Agency to encourage more men to have STI tests to improve their sexual health.
The HPA says it’s a vital scheme because men take fewer chlamydia tests than women. “The number of young men being screened for chlamydia has been increasing year on year but there is still work to be done to ensure that this number continues,” explained Mary Macintosh, director of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme.
A spokeswoman from the HPA suggested that the reason fewer men take STI tests is because they aren’t offered them as often as women, who tend to be more engaged in services like GP surgeries.
“With men it’s not as easy,” the spokeswoman said, so the HPA has been taking the testing kits to places where it’s easier to access large groups of men.
The men will be asked to take a chlamydia testing kit away with them, provide a urine sample at home and send the kit to a lab. Their results will be returned anonymously.
It’s similar to what happens if you buy an STI test online, except getting a test from the internet can screen for a number of infections at the same time and you don’t have to suffer the embarrassment of picking up a test in front of thousands of other men. Online STI testing will use a lab to test for infections, but it guarantees your privacy because you provide a sample and receive your results in your own home.
Chlamydia is an STI which doesn’t usually cause symptoms, so many people are unaware they have it and can spread it without realising. It’s the fastest growing infection in the UK, and one in ten people are thought to be carrying the infection.
It’s important you treat Chlamydia as soon as you test positive for it, because leaving this STI untreated can lead to a number of health problems and can even cause infertility.