Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Bad medicine: chlamydia

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 12 May 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2547
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}

    Health promotion messages often stitch together mismatching research. Then, given two million volts of advertising, the facts take on artificial life. This is the story of chlamydia, facts marauding through the columns of magazines, using fear to sell print copy. The horror story is that chlamydia inevitably causes infertility—a terrible monster. So my time is spent reassuring young women that it doesn’t. But there is always dissonance: they are never reassured, and their eyes smoulder with recrimination.

    Here is the case for chlamydia screening. Infection rates are exploding, more than doubling in a decade. …

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