MONDAY, FEB. 7: Chlamydia is the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease in Bermuda with 430 cases reported in 2010.

Dr. Cheryl Peek-Ball, senior medical officer, said that in a press statement about Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Week.

Dr. Peek-Ball is encouraging the community to talk about sexual health, parents to children, healthcare providers to patients and sexually active people to their partners.

The statement said: “On average, 550 new infections have been diagnosed each year of the past decade and over 75 per cent of these diagnoses were in persons under 30 years of age.

She said about two-thirds of all cases being among women.

“The most prevalent STI (sexually transmitted infection) reported was Chlamydia with 430 cases reported in 2010.

“The highest rates of Chlamydia were seen in persons aged 15-29 years regardless of gender.  Young women are disproportionately affected.”

Screening for STIs and early treatment in sexually active persons can prevent some of the most devastating effects of untreated STIs such as infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, neurological damage and transmission during pregnancy.

She said the diseases are treatable and preventable.

The Department recommends that in order to maintain sexual health, sexually active individuals should:

  • Have the "conversation” with their partner
  • Have the "conversation” with their healthcare provider
  • Delay sexual activity until adulthood
  • Have a single sexual partner
  • Use condoms consistently
  • Get tested periodically for STI’s, including HIV as recommended by their healthcare provider
  • Females aged 11-26 should have the Human Papillomavirus vaccine

Department of Health staff will be in local pharmacies this week to promote the use of condoms, including the female condom, and to provide information on ways to protect sexual health.

For additional information visit the website at www.gov.bm.