GP testing can help with battle against chlamydia

Falls in chlamydia diagnoses revealed in official figures show 'half the battle' against the disease has been won, according to the GP leading the screening programme.

But more GPs need to be testing large numbers of young people, Dr Sebastian Kalwij, GP champion for England's national chlamydia screening programme, said.

Dr Kalwij said the fall in chlamydia diagnoses announced last week was 'good news'. 'It shows that all the hard work over the past seven to eight years is finally paying off,' he said. But he added: 'This is only half the battle. In order to see a big drop in chlamydia rates it is vital to keep on testing young people.'

Dr Kalwij said that although many GPs had contributed to the success of the programme, some were only testing a 'handful' of young people.

'General practice is the sleeping giant of chlamydia screening with a lot of potential for screening large volumes of young people, with the right training and support,' he said.

'GPs are in an ideal position to offer a test and manage positive results,' he said. 'In my experience this is very rewarding - not often do we deal with an infection which is so common and so easy to treat.'

Data released last week showed chlamydia tests increased by 196,500 (up to 2.2 million in 2010), but diagnoses were virtually static, at just over 189,000 in 2009 and 2010.

The HPA figures showed that overall STI rates fell for the first time in 10 years, most notably among young people.

In 2010, there were 418,598 new STI diagnoses in England, down from 424,782 in 2009.

From 2008 to 2010, genital warts diagnoses in 15- to 19-year-olds fell 13% in women and 8% in men. Gonorrhoea fell 13% in women and 14% in men.

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