Toronto - Toronto Public Health is using cell phones and hypertag technology to bring its message of Chlamydia prevention and testing to Grade 11 students across the city. This innovative campaign consists of multi-media presentations in six Toronto high schools, featuring interactive theatre and messages directed to students’ cell phones.

Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in Toronto, with more than 7,000 cases reported to Toronto Public Health in 2007. Young women aged 15 to 24 are the most commonly affected group.

In addition to advocating condom use as a key STI prevention strategy, it is important to “encourage young people to get tested because Chlamydia often has no symptoms, and the majority of those infected do not realize it,” said Dr. Rita Shahin, Associate Medical Health Officer with Toronto Public Health. “We are trying to motivate youth to take responsibility for their sexual health by using the technology and communication methods that they themselves use. We are working to prevent sexually transmitted infections one cell phone at a time.”

Chlamydia increases an infected person’s risk of acquiring other diseases, including HIV, which makes early testing even more important. If left untreated, Chlamydia can have long term implications, including pelvic inflammatory disease in women, and infertility in both women and men. “The good news is that it is easy to test for, treat and cure Chlamydia,” added Dr. Shahin.