Warning on dangers of chlamydia

Health promotion and education officer Yvonne Black, from the Ipswich FPQ clinic, visits regional schools and interest groups.
Health promotion and education officer Yvonne Black, from the Ipswich FPQ clinic, visits regional schools and interest groups.

MANY people affected with chlamydia, the most common notifiable disease in young people in Australia, have no symptoms.

The sexually transmitted infection (STI) is prevalent among young people aged under 25.

That's only one of the reasons why educators at the Family Planning Queensland (FPQ) clinic in Ipswich want more young people to seek out its services.

FPQ health education officer Yvonne Black already goes out to visit schools and other organisations in the wider Ipswich region, offering them sexuality and relationship training.

She especially wants to promote a culture of safer sex.

"We want sexual activity to be something people choose, not something that just happens to them," Ms Black said.

"Young people can come in and get condoms for free.

"Men and women should be screened after unprotected sex or a change in partners. We offer our services at low cost or free."

FPQ has been in Ipswich since 1975 and will celebrate its 37th birthday next month.

An FPQ spokeswoman said the organisation was disappointed by the "last-minute news" of funding cuts announced by Queensland Health last Friday.

"We are deeply committed to frontline services in the regions where we've operated for the better part of 40 years, including Ipswich," she said.

"It is too early to say how these funding cuts will impact services but, with the continued support of the Ipswich community, we will endeavour to carry forward the important work we do."

Ipswich is one of nine FPQ centres in Queensland, recording an average of 2300 visits a year.

Co-ordinator Sonya Megram said services at the clinic included contraception, pap smears, pregnancy testing, counselling, training for health professionals and STI checks.

"Chlamydia, left untreated, can lead to infertility," Ms Megram said.

"It's easily treated and can be prevented by using condoms."

FPQ's clinic is located at Shop 5/54 Limestone St. Go to www.fpq.com.au or phone 3281 4088.

Topics:  chlamydia, family planning queensland, health, sexually transmitted diseases



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