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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 August 2005, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
Boots offer chlamydia screening
Chlamydia cells
Chlamydia can easily be treated
Boots has been awarded a government contract to carry out chlamydia screening in high streets in London.

The company will provide the free and confidential service in all its London pharmacies from November this year.

It is part of a Department of Health initiative to make it easier for 16-24 olds to be screened for the UK's most common sexually transmitted infection.

The pilot scheme will be assessed after two years and could be rolled out nationally.

Chlamydia affects as many as 10% of sexually active young men and women.

Infertility risk

There were 89,818 diagnosed cases of chlamydia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2004 - up nine per cent on the previous year.

It can be easily cured with antibiotics but if untreated in women it can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility.

Health minister Caroline Flint said: "By making this free service available in pharmacies on the high street, it will make it easier for people to call in for a screening test - helping to speed up both the detection and treatment of chlamydia cases."

The screening and treatment service will also be available to all partners of those who test positive, regardless of their age.

Chlamydia testing and screening is currently available in 26 areas of England under the National Chlamydia Screening Programme.

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