Press release

Chlamydia screening and condom schemes encourage safer sexual behaviour

PHE launches 2 new publications today focused on encouraging safer sexual behaviour in young adults.


Young adults report being offered a chlamydia test has a positive impact on their subsequent healthcare-seeking and sexual behaviour, according to a new Public Health England (PHE) report out today (14 July 2014). After testing for chlamydia, 62% of respondents to an anonymous web survey reported they were more likely to use condoms with a new partner and 66% reported they were more likely to test for chlamydia again.

Nine out of 10 respondents to the PHE web survey received sexual health advice alongside their last chlamydia test. Young adults with higher numbers of sexual partners reported testing for chlamydia more frequently. This is encouraging in light of latest PHE data, showing that young adults continue to experience the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections.

As part of an ongoing commitment to improving young adults’ sexual health, PHE and Brook have today also launched an updated Condom-Card Scheme guide,’C-Card condom distribution schemes. Why, what and how.’ Condom schemes, such as C-Card, aim to ensure easy access to sexual health advice and free condoms for young people.

Local schemes have proved a successful element of strategies to reduce unprotected sex, rates of STIs and unplanned pregnancies. The updated guide showcases 6 years of practitioners’ experience commissioning, developing and providing these schemes.

Dr Anthony Nardone, Consultant Epidemiologist at PHE, commented:

Our survey of young adults found chlamydia screening has a positive impact on both health-seeking and sexual behaviour, and provides an important channel for the delivery of safer sex messages to young adults. This enhances the cost effectiveness of chlamydia screening, offering value beyond that of the testing itself.

Simon Blake OBE, Chief Executive of Brook, said:

Young adults remain the age group most at risk of STIs in England. C-Card schemes are an effective way to help young adults take responsibility for their sexual health; providing them with easy access to free contraception, education about sexual health and wellbeing, and are an opportunity to signpost to related services.


Notes to editors

  • The ‘C-Card condom distribution schemes. Why, what and how’ guide is available from the Brook website
  • The ‘Components of chlamydia screening and the impact of screening on behaviour: 2014 National Chlamydia Screening Programme web survey report’ is available from the NCSP website Key results:
    • Chlamydia screening provides an opportunity to deliver safer sex messages to young adults: 90% of respondents reported that they were given sexual health information at their last test.
    • Respondents who reported higher numbers of sexual partners and recent unprotected sex reported testing more frequently, in terms of number of times ever tested and proportion tested in the last year.
    • Many respondents reported that testing had an impact on their knowledge and/or their sexual risk behaviour:
      • 66% more likely to test again in future
      • 62% more likely to use condoms with new partner
      • 59% to know how to avoid chlamydia in future
      • 30% more likely to have fewer sexual partners.
  • Latest PHE England data for 2013 shows that young adults experienced 63% of chlamydia, 56% of gonorrhoea cases and 54% of genital warts cases in 2013 (among heterosexuals diagnosed in genitourinary medicine). Read the complete England STI 2013 data(published June 2014).
  • PHE exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities. It does this through advocacy, partnerships, world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. Follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk
  • Brook is the UK’s leading provider of sexual health services and advice for young people under 25. The charity has 50 years of experience working with young people and currently has services in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Jersey. Brook also provides support services and programmes to help young people make positive and healthy lifestyle choices and to improve their personal and emotional wellbeing. Visit our website or follow us on Twitter @BrookCharity.

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Published 14 July 2014