On Friday the Health Protection Agency published statistics on chlamydia screening figures across England. The latest figures show significant progress and an increase in the numbers of young people being tested, and we still have a long way to go.
National programmes inevitably take time to get going as the systems and structures are put in place on the ground. I am sure we will continue to see an increase in the numbers of young people being tested this year. There is however a gap and a challenge for us in the year ahead if government and partner agencies such as Brook and Terence Higgins Trust are to detect and treat the infection within the population to get chlamydia under control, particularly encouraging those who will not access mainstream services to get tested.
Across the country there are many different brands for local and regional chlamydia screening programmes. Young people frequently phone Ask Brook, our information service for young people. They tell us that they don't want to go to a clinic and would prefer to request a test on line which they then receive in the post. They often phone us when they have had difficulty finding out whether they can access a free test on line and how to get it.
A national online service, backed up with a national campaign could fill the gap and are calling on government to consider this as a serious option that will both increase value for money and effectiveness. Without this we risk many young people, perhaps particularly young men, not getting screened and when necessary treated.