Chlamydia outbreak in Denmark

Author: John
Time: 2011/6/22 17:28:44

Health authorities estimate that as many as one in ten sexually active young Danes have chlamydia - many without knowing it.

In the last nine years the number of reported cases of the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia has doubled to more than 30,000 cases, reports the National Board of Health, amounting to an epidemic of the illness.

Chlamydia is now the most widespread sexually transmitted disease in Denmark, largely because many people do not know that they are infected and a large proportion of young people have unprotected sex.

"We are seeing a huge rise in chlamydia and genital warts, and every year many men and women get cancer or become infertile because of sexually transmitted diseases," Susanne Bjerregaard, of the Centre for Sex and Health, told metroXpress newspaper.

The Board of Health now reports that it has nearly 500 registered cases of young people who have irreversibly lost their ability to have children because of complications from untreated chlamydia.

Some 50 to 70 percent of women with chlamydia infection show no symptoms - but they can still spread the infection, which is transmitted through vaginal, anal and oral sex. Sex without condoms and multiple partners are risk factors for the infection which, left untreated, can cause infertility and blindness.

A study by the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU) released last month reported that 31 percent of Danes "often" had unprotected sex, while some 55 percent "never" used condoms.

The National Board of Health along with Frederiksberg Council will now collaborate on an information campaign to teach young people about the symptoms and consequences of untreated chlamydia. In addition, free chlamydia test kits will be offered, so that people can test themselves at home for the infection.

"Young people pay attention when they learn that they can be permanently damaged if Chlamydia goes untreated. Once they know what their options are, they are generally interested in getting tested," Bjarne Rasmussen of the Frederiksberg Council told Berlingske newspaper.

But Bjarne B. Christensen from the Danish Family Planning Association suggested that a culture of safer sex was necessary and could only come through an organised state strategy.

"Education and information campaigns aren’t enough," he told metroXpress last month when the RFSU study about spotty condom use was released."It’s a problem that Denmark doesn’t have a collective policy about sexual health."

keywords: Chlamydia