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Aalborg is the Danish city where most young people are infected with the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia.
This is shown by a new study from Sex & Society.
BT has asked two young residents of Aalborg why the city has broken the chlamydia record:
“Many score in Gaden, where the drinking culture is wild and ‘drunk hook ups’ probably don’t correlate very well with condom use – if you’re drunk, you don’t use a condom,” says 24-year-old Fredrik Engemann Jensen.
24-year-old Frederik Engemann Jensen has been a sexist in Aalborg for almost eight years. Private photo.
Like 23-year-old Ditte Bundgaard, he is a ‘sexualist’ and teaches young people sex education in primary schools, junior high schools, special schools, after-schools and residences in North Jutland.
If anyone, the two know how young people from North Jutland think when it comes to sex:
“Apart from last year, when Kolding took first place, Aalborg has been the chlamydia capital for virtually all of the seven years I’ve been a sexologist,” says Frederik.
He believes that the explanation must be found in the fact that condoms are too expensive, that they are too difficult to put on and that young people are generally more worried about pregnancy than sexually transmitted diseases.
Is a group of young people who want to share their knowledge and experiences with other young people.
They advise on safe sex, contraception, feelings, love, sexually transmitted diseases and take ongoing courses so they are ‘up to date’.
“Many girls use birth control pills or IUDs, and that’s nice in terms of protecting against pregnancy, but it’s only condoms or a lollipop that protects against sexually transmitted diseases,” he says.
It is far from only in Aalborg that young people get chlamydia. According to figures from 2021, with 31,430 cases throughout Denmark, the venereal disease is more widespread among 15-29-year-olds than ever before.
When the experts have to explain why, the bids are that young people are:
- Afraid to go to the doctor.
- Don’t care about the risk of becoming sterile.
- Not realizing that they are infected.
- Are too bad to use a condom.
BT has asked Ditte and Frederik if they agree with the allegations.
Are young people afraid of going to the doctor?
Frederik: “Yes.” Unfortunately, among people with a penis, it is still a common myth that a chlamydia test requires a swab in the urethra and that it hurts. But it’s just a urine test you have to have.’
Ditte: “For the girls, the fear is more about the risk of the doctor notifying the parents. ‘My parents don’t know that I have sex’ and ‘Will they get the answer in e-Boks’, are typical questions. Our advice is that they ask their doctor to send them an answer by text.’
Do young people care about chlamydia?
Frederik: »No, but there is a difference in age. At the university where I go, chlamydia is perhaps trivialized because you know that you have to take a pill and then the bacteria are gone after ten days. But the very young are often too nervous because they know too little and fear venereal diseases – much more than is necessary.’
Ditte: »Agreed. For younger people, chlamydia is very shameful, but at my age it’s more like, ‘Haven’t we all had it?'”
31,430 were tested positive for chlamydia in 2021.
85 percent were young people between the ages of 15 and 29.
The Danish Health Authority estimates that up to 50,000 are infected per year.
5 percent of all young people have chlamydia.
The venereal disease is easily treated with pills.
50 percent that all men get no symptoms of the infection.
4,000 annual cases of pelvic inflammatory disease are due to infection with chlamydia.
500 become sterile each year due to chlamydia.
300 Danish women become pregnant outside the womb every year due to the infection.
Chlamydia is transmitted through penetration, oral and anal sex.
Source: Sex and Society
Do young people care about the risk of becoming sterile?
Ditte: “Not at all.” I have just had a conversation with a girl who for several months thought she had become sterile because she had had chlamydia. The horror scenario that you become sterile and cannot have children is shared far more often than the good story that you can be treated and then the disease is gone.’
Frederik: »Chlamydia rarely leads to sterility, but we often hear stories about a friend who has had chlamydia for two weeks and ‘Now he has become sterile’. It is very important that fear and shame are replaced with real knowledge. Young people should not be afraid of AIDS, for example, and that in the worst case they could die from it, but rather know that if they use a condom, nothing will happen.’
Do young people not discover they have chlamydia?
Frederik: »No, there are statistics on that. I usually say that if you regularly change partners, or if you experience something irregular below, then you should go to the doctor. But it’s an even better idea to use a condom.’
Ditte: “You have to remember that you don’t just take care of yourself, but also of others.”
Frederik Engemann Jensen is 24 years old and studies social studies at Aalborg University. He has been a sexist for almost eight years.
Ditte Bundgaard is 23 years old, studying to become a social worker at Aalborg University, and is a new sexologist who goes out to all eighth graders in Aalborg Municipality to teach young people.
Are young people too bad to use condoms?
Yours: “Yes! Condoms often become the boys’ responsibility. They find it difficult to keep the atmosphere cheeky and nice at the same time as they have to fumble with a condom – the girls mostly lie on the side and think it’s embarrassing, and that starts a vicious circle.’
Ditte: “It’s about expectations for sex. We must make condoms a shared responsibility and talk about the fact that sex must be light and playful – that everything does not have to be perfect.’
Frederik: “The boys are so nervous that it’s like having to take an exam – with a censor… The best cure for chlamydia is to make it acceptable in young people’s minds to put on a condom.” To de-dramatize sex so that it is not an act of performance. I believe more in contraception than in tests.’
The map shows how many infected people there are among 1,000 inhabitants in the Danish regions. Graphics Sex and Society.
In order to deal with the increasing chlamydia infection, Copenhagen Medicals has developed a home test that costs between 159 and 279 kroner. Neither Frederik nor Ditte believe that they will be able to reduce the infection:
“Young boys only think about sex and don’t want to spend 70 kroner on ten condoms, so I don’t think I can persuade them to also spend money on a home test that they don’t realize they need.”
In 2021, the Danish Regions set aside ten million kroner for chlamydia infection prevention. The idea was that all the country’s municipalities should offer free home tests, but as Ditte Bundgaard says:
“They are not as widespread as one would like.”
So far, it is only in Frederiksberg, Gentofte, Hillerød, Høje-Taastrup, Ishøj, Copenhagen and Lolland that young people can get free home tests.
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