STD Rise Defies Safe-Sex Message

Health authorities in New Zealand are concerned by the rising rates of chlamydia in west Auckland. It has become the most common sexually transmitted disease in the area with young people being affected more than ever.

According to local statistics, 322 cases were reported between 2006 and 2007 in west Auckland, up 14% on the previous year’s figures. In that same report, women aged 15 to 24 and men from 20 to 24 are most commonly affected.

Chlamydia can lead to other serious health problems including pelvic infections and infertility if left untreated.

This report has raised concerns among health professionals in New Zealand, as it means that promotion for safe sex is not getting through to a lot of young people. Condom use among the youth is not prevalent.

Doctors recommend to the youth to have themselves tested for chlamydia within three weeks after having unprotected sex with a new partner. They also call for routine screening to combat chlamydia after a trial screening program in Wellington last year.

The study was carried out over six months on sexually active youths under 25 years old who were offered free chlamydia testing. Eight percent of those tested were positive.

Symptoms for chlamydia do not appear until three weeks after contact, sometimes there aren’t any symptoms at all, so people may not realize that they have it. It has to be treated immediately after diagnosis to prevent devastating health consequences like not being able to have children, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pain. Chlamydia can also cause eye and lung infections in infants born to women who have the sexually transmitted infection.

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