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Love bug

Press release issued: 1 March 2001

Who's got the love bug?

A major study to tackle the world's commonest sexually transmitted bacterial infection starts on Valentine's Day. Researchers at the University of Bristol are co-ordinating the largest-ever Chlamydia Screening Study with the University of Birmingham, the Public Health Laboratory Service and local GPs in the Bristol and West Midlands areas.

The Chlamydia Screening Studies (ClaSS) project has been commissioned by the NHS Health Technology Assessment Programme and will consist of six interlinked studies over the next two years.

Eighteen thousand men and women aged between 16 and 39 will be chosen at random from the NHS lists of 27 selected general practices in the Bristol and West Midlands areas. Participants will be sent a pack by their GP asking them to take part in the screening study. The pack contains information about Chlamydia and the study, a brief questionnaire and containers for providing specimens for testing.

All participants testing positive for Chlamydia will be offered treatment and invited to take part in the subsequent parts of the study. A small sample of people with negative test results will also be asked to participate further by completing a questionnaire so that people with and without Chlamydial infection can be compared.

Other components of the study will investigate the best way to trace and treat sexual contacts of people with Chlamydia, the best laboratory test, the emotional impact of screening on both men and women and the economic impact of screening. The Department of Health is considering setting up a screening programme for the detection of genital Chlamydial infections. But more research is required to find out how such a screening programme can be most cost-effectively designed, targeted, delivered and evaluated.

Dr Nicola Low, Lecturer in Public Health Medicine at Bristol University, said: 'We hope that people won't feel embarrassed about sending us a urine specimen or a swab. We need people's help to boost our understanding of how common Chlamydia is and how best to manage it.'

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Copyright: 2001 The University of Bristol, UK
Updated: Thursday, 01-Mar-2001 17:39:01 GMT

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