Cantabs denied anon chlamydia tests
The population of Cambridge is left to fester with chlamydia as Cambridge City Council drastically reduces funding for testing
Students have been disappointed to find that requests for free postal testing on the ironically named NHS website www.freetest.me are now being denied.
By way of apology, the website states that although you cannot access free chlamydia screening if you live in Cambridge, they can offer you 10% off of a postal chlamydia test – which is a bargain at £19.99.
Alongside this winning offer is broadcast the fact that 1 in 12 people who are tested find that they are positive.
This follows the controversial closure of the popular Clinic 1A (an STI check up clinic) in Addenbrookes last month.
Chlamydia testing is also no longer available at The Laurels, although it can be included in a full STI screening.
These cuts have been met with outrage by students. Kiana Thorpe, 21, stated that “getting a full STI test can be quite invasive and time consuming.
It might deter people from getting tested, which is scary because chlamydia is so common and easy to contract”.
The alternative option for Cambridge students to get a chlamydia test anonymously is at the smaller Brookfields hospital, located in east Cambridge about 40 minutes walk from the town centre. Ever heard of it? Us neither.
The NHS recommends that under-25s who are sexually active get tested for chlamydia once a year.
One student, who wishes to remain anonymous, admitted “This is going to be really inconvenient for me because I have a lot of sex, so I need to get tested regularly”.
“I’ve gotten a lot of emails from both welfare officers and individual students confused about the lack of postal testing,” comments CUSU Welfare and Rights Officer Jack Wright.
“A lot of them seem to think that the current options aren’t nearly as good, which doesn’t bode well for the amount of people who actually get tested. Clearly there was a demand for the service.”
Why Cambridge Council has decided to drastically cut availability for screening for the most common STI in the country remains a mystery.
Although everyone can still request a chlamydia test from their GP, the fact that this will go on your NHS records will be a strong deterrent for many.
Some students came up with unusual solutions to the issue. Matthew Kellet suggested, “Maybe we should gather all of the people who are likely to have chlamydia together, and get them to bum the people who cut the funding. I like to call it poetic justice.”
Is this a public health cuts outrage or merely an opportunity to get to know east Cambridge (aka ARU-territory) a bit more? Have your say in the comments below.