Rates of chlamydia are as high as eight per cent in sexually active students at some London further education colleges. A new trial will aim to diagnose infections within 90 minutes and provide immediate on-site antibiotic treatment.

calendar-icon 23 August 2016

The trial, run by St George’s, University of London, will recruit 80 sexually active students, aged 16-24 years, from each of six colleges and test them for chlamydia/gonorrhoea using a self-taken swab or urine samples. 

The trial will use the Cepheid GeneXpert testing system to deliver swift results.

Professor Pippa Oakeshott, of St George’s, said chlamydia and gonorrhoea cost the NHS over £100 million each year.

"Less than 30 per cent of young people in England get tested for STIs each year and this is too low to reduce infection rates. Also there are often delays in getting treated," she said.

"We hope that bringing new rapid 90 minute chlamydia/gonorrhoea tests and on-site treatment to the community will get more people treated faster. This could reduce infection rates and serious complications like infertility."

This project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research under its Research for Patient Benefit Programme with tests provided by Cepheid International. It will start on 27 September.