MORE teenagers are testing positive for chlamydia than any other age group as sexually transmitted infections are back at Celtic Tiger levels.
One in ten people under the age of 20 who attended the Dublin Well Woman Centre to test for chlamydia tested positive.
The number of people of all ages getting tested for the sexually transmitted infection (STI) has reached a five-year peak and is now back at Celtic Tiger levels, according to the centre, which has urged revellers to take precautions as we enter the Christmas party season.
The clinic's chief executive, Alison Begas, said the figures are both good and bad news.
"It is very good that people are aware of the need to present for testing and that they have no embarrassment about coming in to us," she said.
"It is worrying at the same time that the safe sex message is not getting through, especially with the younger groups who would be more susceptible to chlamydia."
She said anyone who has recently changed partner should be getting tested and should be aware that only the correct use of a condom will prevent transmission of the infection.
"What is worrying about chlamydia is that you can have it without any symptoms," she said.
"Obviously the pill, or even over-the-counter emergency protection will help prevent an unplanned pregnancy but it is not going to stop the transmission of an STI."
If diagnosed early, chlamydia can be treated with a course of antibiotics. However, left undiagnosed, the infection can lead to infertility among women and testicular inflammation in men.
The Dublin Well Woman Centre's three clinics have carried out 4,576 chlamydia tests so far this year with an average of about 5pc testing positive.