Australia: Getting the Message on Chlamydia
April 10, 2003
Australia's Illawarra Health officials are taking their message, "Be Smart, Be Tested," to the movie theater to target people at risk of contracting STDs. The campaign was launched Wednesday to combat the region's growing number of chlamydia cases among people ages 16-29. Last year there were 177 cases in the Illawarra, up from 129 in 1999, and 40 percent of those were ages 20-24. Most infected persons were female. The new statewide campaign includes cinema and magazine advertisements to educate young people about the infection and encourage them to seek treatment.
Illawarra's sexual health service director, Dr. Katherine Brown, said the awareness campaign was launched to coincide with school and university holidays. "The biggest single risk factor is being under the age of 25, so we're trying to target that age group in magazines and at the movies," she said.
While the infection is serious, Brown said it could be easily diagnosed and treated. "The treatment can be as simple as a single dose of antibiotics," she said. One of the problems of the disease, Brown said, is that in 50 percent of cases, people do not know they are carrying the infection.
"We know that people are often embarrassed to go to the doctors if they have a sexually transmitted infection, but one of the bigger issues here is that it is frequently silent," Brown said. "Left untreated, the disease can lead to chronic infection, pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancies and infertility in women, and testicular infection and possibly infertility in men," she said.
Illawarra Mercury (New South Wales, Australia)
04.10.03; Megan Levy
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.