Gender equity has come to the National Chlamydia Screening Programme which will now be specifically targeting men as well as women.
It's good news for women, good news for men - recent research has suggested that chlamydia can affect male as well as female fertility - and good news for men's health campaigners as this change of approach is the direct result of the awareness-raising work the MHF has done in this area.
In its strategy document, the NCSP identifies a 'number of developments and initiatives that have prompted the development of a NCSP stratgey to address gender equality.' These include the Gender Duty (and if the NCSP can address it why can't other health providers?) and the Forum's 20006 report Putting Men To The Test which highlighted the need to proactively target men.
In 2003, its first year, the NCSP screened around 18,000 people under 25 in England of which only 7%. This proportion has since improved. In 2006/07 about 20% of the 150,000 people screened were men.
But Dr Mary Macintosh, director of the programme, said at the NCSP's launch event on Friday that increasing the number of men screened was vital.
MHF director Peter Baker told the meeting in the QEII Conference Centre in London that the Forum was delighted that its voice had been effective. 'We believe it's important to screen men if the chlamydia epidemic is to be brought under control, if we are to communicate that's sexual health is a responsibility shared by men and women, and if we are to improve the reproductive health of both men and women,' he said.
'For wider purposes, we also think it's very important to demonstrate that these kinds of health programmes take male health seriously - one of the biggest problems we face in trying to improve the health of men is many men's belief that the NHS cares more about women and children. The benefits of engaging more men in the NCSP could not have been made clearer in recent weeks incidentally, following the publication of new research on the link with male infertility.'
The new initiative will see screening taken to colleges, further education centres, youth clubs, sports venues and football matches, prisons and military establishments and will also offer home kits so that men can arrange screening over the internet.
A new male-friendly website www.chlamydiascreening.nhs.uk, which enables young people to find their local screening venue was announced. It includes information for health professionals too.
Page created on November 12th, 2007
Page updated on May 25th, 2010