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Young Austrailians Paid to Have STD Test

The Sydney Morning Herald,  Jan 31, 2011
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Younger Australians will be paid to get tested for chlamydia, as health experts look for new ways to combat rising rates of the sexually-transmitted infection.

Young people aged 16 to 30 who are sexually active will be paid $10 if they accept an offer at a participating pharmacy to undergo a chlamydia test.

The initiative is a pilot program running solely in the ACT but if it proves a success, Associate Professor Rhian Parker said it could be rolled out nationally.
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Another $10 is given to the pharmacy for each test they perform, and Dr Parker said if it curtailed transmission of the infection then it would be money well spent.

"Absolutely ... chlamydia has a significant cost to the community," said Dr Parker from the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute at the Australian National University.

"Treating infertility when women are in their 30s, for example, is a very expensive process.

"What we are trying to do is raise awareness, provide access to young people to testing but also to show that chlamydia is something that anyone can get that is sexually active."

A chlamydia infection is usually easy to resolve with antibiotics but because it has no symptoms it can go unnoticed, and so untreated, for years.

The longer-term effect can be devastating, Dr Parker said, with two-thirds tubal infertility and a third of all cases of ectopic pregnancy attributed to the infection.

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