Chlamydia outbreak in Geelong

Written by Courier Mail Geelong on . Posted in Blog

MORE than 1000 Geelong region residents have been diagnosed with chlamydia in the past 12 months, the latest health department figures show.

But for every person acutely aware of the sexually transmitted disease, there are even more people with no symptoms whatsoever, the Geelong Advertiser said.

Barwon Health department of infectious diseases associate professor Eugene Athan said yesterday males sufferers had minimal or no symptoms. But they ran the risk of infecting female partners who, in the long run, could become infertile. Health Department figures showed that 1289 cases of chlamydia were reported in the Barwon South Western region during the past 12 months. In the City of Greater Geelong alone 714 cases have been reported in the past 12 months. Dr Athan said what had changed in recent years was that GPs are being encouraged to test for chlamydia, which was a simple urine test.

"As a result of that we are testing more, and so we are picking up more of the infection," he said.

"The problem with chlamydia is it's a bit of a silent disease. The majority of people don't have symptoms, and about a third have urethral symptoms such as a burning feeling or vaginal discharge."The problem is that in the longer term it can cause infertility in young women it's the most common cause of infertility in Australia."

Dr Athan said there was also a certain degree of unsafe sexual practices in the community, with people taking fewer precautions and putting themselves at risk.

"So if people are at risk through unsafe sexual activity, or just being sexually active, they should be tested," he said.

"It's a major problem for Victoria and it's reflected mainly in young people between the ages of 15 and 25."

Statewide, there have been 17,317 cases of chlamydia reported in the past 12 months. Dr Athan said the figures reflected the fact the infection had become endemic in the community, as opposed to a sudden epidemic. He said chlamydia was thought of in a different way to say the swine flu outbreak of two years ago because there was always a certain presence of it in the population.

Chlamydia and ectopic pregnancy

Written by University of Edinburgh on . Posted in Blog

edinburgh-university-englandScientists explain link between chlamydia and ectopic pregnancy.

Women who have had chlamydia are at greater risk of an ectopic pregnancy because of a lasting effect of the infection.

A new study provides evidence for the first time of how chlamydia can increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy – which occurs when an embryo implants outside the womb, in the Fallopian tube.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found that women who had had the sexually transmitted infection were more likely to produce a particular protein in their Fallopian tubes. Increased production of this protein – known as PROKR2 – makes a pregnancy more likely to implant in the Fallopian tube.

The study follows on from research, also at the University of Edinburgh, which showed that production of a similar protein increased the likelihood of smokers having an ectopic pregnancy.

Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the UK. It can be treated but often goes undiagnosed because it can occur without symptoms. The infection is known to cause infertility as it can lead to scarring and blockages in the Fallopian tube.

This research shows, however, that chlamydial infection linked to ectopic pregnancy causes much more subtle changes in the Fallopian tube, without evidence of severe scarring. The study, published in the American Journal of Pathology, was funded by the Wellbeing of Women and the Medical Research Council.

Dr Andrew Horne, of the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Reproductive Biology, said: "We know that chlamydia is a major risk factor for ectopic pregnancy but until now we were unsure how the infection led to implantation of a pregnancy in the Fallopian tube. We hope that this new information allows health care providers to give women accurate information about risks following chlamydial infection and to support public health messages about the importance of safer sex and chlamydia testing."

Paid for STI Testing

Written by AAP | on . Posted in Blog

YOUNG Australians will be paid $10 to get tested for chlamydia, as health experts look for new ways to combat rising rates of the sexually-transmitted infection.

Young people aged 16 to 30 who are sexually active will be paid $10 if they accept an offer at a participating pharmacy to undergo a chlamydia test. The initiative is a pilot program running solely in the ACT but if it proves a success, Associate Professor Rhian Parker said it could be rolled out nationally. Another $10 is given to the pharmacy for each test they perform, and Dr Parker said if it curtailed transmission of the infection then it would be money well spent.

"Absolutely ... chlamydia has a significant cost to the community," said Dr Parker from the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute at the Australian National University.

"Treating infertility when women are in their 30s, for example, is a very expensive process.

"What we are trying to do is raise awareness, provide access to young people to testing but also to show that chlamydia is something that anyone can get that is sexually active."

A chlamydia infection is usually easy to resolve with antibiotics but because it has no symptoms it can go unnoticed, and so untreated, for years.The longer-term effect can be devastating, Dr Parker said, with two-thirds tubal infertility and a third of all cases of ectopic pregnancy attributed to the infection. She said chlamydia transmission rates had "risen significantly" in the ACT over the past decade, as part of a trend seen across the country. The pilot study is aiming to test 300 to 400 young people, meaning a total outlay of $6000 to $8000 in payment to those tested and also the pharmacies.

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