Over the next fortnight, more than 22,000 young people in Barking and Dagenham will be receiving chlamydia information though the post and a chance to order a postal test kit.
The scheme, run by Terrence Higgins Trust and Barking and Dagenham PCT, aims to reduce undiagnosed chlamydia in local 16-24 year olds.
Chlamydia affects around one in 10 young people. Some people have no symptoms at all, while others have tell-tale signs which include pain when urinating or during sex, bleeding after sex and pain in the pelvis or lower abdomen.
If untreated, chlamydia can cause serious health problems including infertility in men and women.
Adam Wilkinson, London Services Manager at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “Young people are often shocked when we tell them how common chlamydia is. If you’re under 25 and you have a group of 10 mates who are having sex, unfortunately it’s likely that one of you will have it.
“The information we’re sending out gives you the facts to protect yourselves in future and the opportunity to order a postal test kit. If you’ve had any type of sexual contact without a condom, please get a test. It doesn’t take long and if you’re negative we can send you your result by text. Although chlamydia is easily diagnosed and treated if it’s not picked up it can cause real problems.”
Last year there was a 7% rise in new diagnoses of chlamydia in young people. The Health Protection Agency now recommends that young people are screened for chlamydia every year or more often if they regularly change partners.