Also in February:
February 10 2009
NHS Grampian is promoting awareness of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in universities and colleges in the week of Valentine's Day, handing out free test kits and condoms.
In partnership with local colleges and universities, NHS Grampian is distributing hundreds of chlamydia and gonorrhea testing kits and condoms, to publicise understanding of the infections and to detect and prevent them.
Students at Aberdeen College, Aberdeen University, The Robert Gordon University, Banff and Buchan College and Moray College are able to pick up a free DIY testing kit for chlamydia and gonorrhea, and receive condoms, throughout Valentine's week.
"Concern is growing about the number of young people contracting sexually transmitted infections and we are keen to ensure all sections of the community, men and women, are aware of the risks and health consequences," says Dr Gillian Flett, consultant and lead clinician for Sexual Health in NHS Grampian.
Chlamydia is the most common, curable, sexually transmitted infection in people under 25. The rate of chlamydia infection in Grampian has been rising for over 10 years, as it has throughout the UK.
Many more women are tested than men. Young men often only get tested when they have symptoms. Earlier testing means that the infection may be cured much earlier and not passed on to other partners. Failure to treat chlamydia can result in long-term health problems for some people. It can include testicular swelling and pain in men, and pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy in women.
Dr Margaret Watson, public health pharmacist, says the DIY kit is easy to use and send: "The kit includes clear information, a container for a urine sample (for men or women), or vaginal swab (women only). The young person fills in the form and sends everything in a postage-paid envelope for testing. If the test shows that the person has chlamydia or gonorrhea, then they will be contacted by a health advisor who will arrange for them to be treated with antibiotics."
Free condoms are also available from NHS Grampian Healthpoints, sexual health services, some general practices, community pharmacies and community settings.
More advice is available from the healthline 0500 20 20 30, or visit the Sexual Health pages in the Healthy Living area of www.nhsgrampian.org
Notes to editors
Photo/interview opportunities will be available at all sites: please contact NHS Grampian, Corporate Communications Dept on 01224 554400 to make arrangements.
Corporate Communications Department
Aberdeen AB25 2ZA