Page last updated at 09:16 GMT, Thursday, 30 April 2009 10:16 UK

London UK's 'chlamydia capital'

Young people in London are being urged to be tested for sexually transmitted infections as three NHS trusts describe it as the UK's "chlamydia capital".

The warning came at the launch of the "Maybe you've got chlamydia" campaign, which hopes to encourage more people under 25-year-old to be screened.

The month-long campaign is being run by the NHS in Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham and Westminster.

An NHS survey of young Londoners found low awareness levels about infections.

'Symptomless' disease

The three health trusts are aiming to screen 25% of 15 to 24-year-olds by the end of March 2010.

Chris Morgan, co-director of Westside Contraceptive Services, who is co-ordinating the screenings, said chlamydia could cause serious health problems if left untreated, including preventing those who contract it from being able to have children.

He said: "It can also lead to arthritis.

"Anyone who has had unprotected sex could have chlamydia and not know about it because it is often symptomless.

"Just one urine sample can show if you've got chlamydia, which can be treated with a single dose of antibiotics."

A survey of about 500 16 to 24-year-olds in the three boroughs fronting the campaign found 60% could not say for certain whether they had the disease.

Almost seven out of 10 respondents said they had had unprotected sex and a majority of them had not been tested for infections.

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