WEYES has a significant contract with Newcastle Primary Care Trust (NHS) to provide sexual health services for young people in the west area of Newcastle. You have probably seen the Chlamydia advertising on the TV, that is because if left untreated it can cause serious problems including infertility and it is the 16-24 age group who are most at risk - 65% of all people who have Chlamydia are in that age range. Each year the PCT and WEYES agree a target number of young people to be screened for Chlamydia and each year it goes up. The NHS in the North East wanted 25% of 15-24 year olds tested in 2009-10, this year they want 35% tested. For WEYES that translates into 1200 young people to be tesetd for the first time in 2010-11 and in particular the PCT want to target young men age 16 to 18 because they are the group least likely to come forward for a test.
Last year the PCT offered free 'Chlamydia knickers' to everyone (girls and boys) who was tested. The knickers have pictures of Chlamydia monsters on them like the advertising and became very popular - a must have fashion item for teenage girls in Newcastle! This year the PCT budget has already been cut so there are no more knickers to give out. Having no incentives for the young people will make the task more difficult to achieve but WEYES has developed an active programme of outreach including involving some young people to promote the sexual health services on offer at WEYES to their contemporaries in places like Newcastle College.