YOUNG Wigan adults are being urged to be tested for a sexually transmitted disease that is rife in the borough.
Letters are being sent out to many young adults across the borough by NHS Ashton, Leigh and Wigan which asks them to have a simple free test for chlamyidia.
The potentially deadly illness, which can be carried without symptoms, is believed to infect around 11 per cent of the borough’s 15 to 24-year-olds. That’s around 4,300 people.
The Primary Care Trust is keen to reduce its prevalence in Wigan, and has been offerering free screening now for more than two years.
In 2009/10 more than 20 per cent of 15 to 24-year-olds in the borough were screened. The target for 2010/11 is 35 per cent.
Free screening – which is entirely painless – is offered at Brook, Leigh Walk In Centre, all family planning clinics, and some GPs and pharmacies.
Glen Berry, the Assistant Director of Health Development for NHS Ashton Leigh and Wigan, said: “Most of the people who have been screened so far are under 20.
“Services like the Youth Service, Connexions and the College Nursing Service are brilliant at screening young people – but we have had very few people in the 18 to 24-year age group tested.
“This is why we have decided to write to people in that age band to encourage them to get a free screen.
“Any found to be positive will be offered free treatment. Chlamydia is very easy to catch but luckily it is very easy to test for and very easy to treat.
“The test is a simple urine test – some men are afraid it involves a gadget like a small umbrella. This is not the case now – it is just a urine sample which is sent to the laboratory in Manchester and the results are texted to the young person in about a week.”
Chlamydia is often known as the silent disease – in most cases there are no symptoms – so people are not aware they have it.
This false belief then leads to people having unprotected sex, and passing on the disease, which can cause severe pelvic pain and lead to ectopic pregnancies and infertility.
The chlamydia testing programme is a free screening programme aimed at 15 to 24-year-olds. Postal test kits are available by texting “TEST” and your name and address to 84010.