FSRH consultation response: removal of opportunistic chlamydia screening for men risks further stigmatising women’s sexual and reproductive health
Date: 26 Feb 2020
Type: FSRH Consultation Responses
Together with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), we respond to the public consultation on the proposal for a revised National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP) policy by Public Health England (PHE). We call on PHE to focus the NCSP on health outcomes, but not at the expense of shifting responsibility for sexual and reproductive health away from men, creating unhelpful myths about STI transmission and further stigmatising women’s health.
In our joint submission with the RCOG, we argued against the suggested change in policy to the NCSP that would remove opportunistic chlamydia screening for men. Despite our support for a change that focusses on improved health outcomes rather than transmission, we believe that the NCSP should aim to improve outcomes for everyone affected by chlamydia. We are concerned that these proposals:
- Negatively and disproportionately impact women, creating sexual and reproductive health inequalities amongst men and women;
- Remove the right for men to have sexual and reproductive health tests routinely offered and negatively impact their health-seeking behaviours;
- Will encourage local authorities, who are already under severe budget constraints, to make further cuts to sexual and reproductive healthcare (SRH) services;
- Could overburden already stretched SRH services if implemented with no additional funding and investment in capacity;
- Remove the focus from health education, especially amongst young people, who are disproportionately affected by chlamydia
RCOG and FSRH call on PHE to support SRH services to continue to deliver holistic care including chlamydia testing, treatment, health promotion and education.