The silent infection

Chlamydia is known as the silent infection. 1 in 14 people in Birmingham and Solihull, aged 15-24, who were tested for Chlamydia…have Chlamydia. There are NO Symptoms it is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the UK. Left untreated, Chlamydia can stop you from having children, however, if detected you can get treatment early.

I’m Gurpreet. I have been working for Besure for 3 years now and work with communities and community services offering free confidential advice and testing to anyone between the ages of 15-24. The test: It’s a free, simple and painless urine test for the men and a simple self taken vaginal swab for the women and we send you your results through confidential e-mail, text message or letter.

In fact, ALL of the advice and testing we offer is completely CONFIDENTIAL. We also have a mobile clinic called the Besure Bus which we take events around Birmingham and Solihull. Providing Chlamydia advise is challenging but enjoyable – I usually get mixed reactions from the young people though mostly people appreciate the advice and free testing we providing.

Most young people tell us ‘that they are glad we approached them as they were planning on getting themselves tested’ or ‘they never thought to take a test even though they are sexually active.’ A few negative comments I get from the young people with Chlamydia testing is ‘I ain’t dirty’ or ‘I use protection’ or ‘I’ve only been with only one partner’ unfortunately there is still stigma around Chlamydia testing, which we are trying to break down. My advice to them would be that having a test for Chlamydia does not make you dirty, Chlamydia has no signs or symptoms and most people do not know they have it – you don’t have to sleep around to catch it and it can be passed on through different partners. Most people don’t know that you can get Chlamydia from oral sex and foreplay, so protection should be used at all times. The best advice I would give is to take a Chlamydia test every time you put yourself at risk, which can be when: You’ve changed your partner you’ve had unprotected sex, you’ve had oral sex, if the condom has split during sex, if you have shared sex toys.

Basic take home tips; Always use a condom and check the expiry date! Make sure the condom package is undamaged and displays the Kitemark standards There are different variations of condoms you can get, as well as sizes and flavours e.g. Male condoms, Femidoms (Female Condom) and Dental Dams (thin square piece of latex used for oral sex) You can order a free Chlamydia test from our website Chlamydia is treatable with Antibiotics and is free for anyone under the age of 25 who gets tested for Chlamydia and is positive. If positive, their partners, who can be of any age, can also be tested and treated for Chlamydia for free through us. – Text Be sure to 80010 – Call 0800 953 3399

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