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Interview 52 - Chloe

Age at interview: 21
Brief Outline: Chloe's Chlamydia test was prompted by a phone call by her ex-boyfriend telling her that he was being treated for Chlamydia and that she and her new boyfriend should go to get tested. But Chloe had the Chlamydia test and requested treatment before she got the test result. She and her boyfriend used a Chlamydia testing kit to have a second test, which came back negative for both of them.
Background: Chloe works with young people with complex and special educational needs and lives at home with her mother and younger sister. Ethnic background' mixed other.

More about me...

At age 14, Chloe was advice by her GP to use the contraceptive injection Depo Provera. At the time, she found it difficult remembering to take the oral contraceptive every day and was worried about pregnancy. She discussed it with her mother and they both agreed that the long acting reversible contraception offered her better protection. Chloe used Depo provera for about four years. During that period she didn’t experience any side-effects from it and liked the idea of not having periods. But Chloe reassess her contraception options when her sister, who had used the injection for about twelve years experienced difficulties when trying for a baby. Her sister’s experience and evidence from research about the possible link between the injection and osteoporosis made Chloe decide to stop using the injection and to explore other forms of contraception. Currently, she uses the contraceptive pill (microgynon). Three months after she stopped having the Depo Provera, her periods became regular again.

Chloe works with young people in community projects and as such she is very knowledgeable of STI’s and their prevention. So, when she was phoned by her ex-boyfriend telling her that he was being treated for Chlamydia and urging her to go for a test, Chloe was shocked. She had been on that relationship for years and both had gone for Chlamydia testing before they stopped using condoms. The worse parts of her experience were to realised that her ex had cheated on her, and having to tell her new boyfriend about it. The possibility of being infected by Chlamydia and the need to be tested left Chloe’s new boyfriend feeling angry, but things settled down after both were tested and treated for it. Chloe got tested but decided to take the treatment before she got the test result. Both Chloe and her boyfriend did a second Chlamydia test that came back negative for both of them.
 

 

Chloe describes what happened at her GP surgery and what it’s like to have the contraceptive...

Chloe describes what happened at her GP surgery and what it’s like to have the contraceptive...

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At your, you first get it done at your, well I did at my doctors by the nurse and yeah, you’d have to do different health checks, they would check your weight, your blood pressure, things like that and say you’d get it done either in your arm or in your bum or wherever there’s enough flesh for it because it’s quite a big needle and then you’re advised still not to have unprotected sex for a week after that and then, so they’d give you, and then when you get it done, they give you an a date for your next appointment which is usually; the injection lasts for twelve weeks but it’s usually at ten or eleven weeks your next date so that you’re, you’ve got enough time to arrange it without having a gap because then you have to do a pregnancy test and stuff if you have a gap, then you’re not, they assume you might not have been protected in that time so you have to overlap it and then when you go back, they do the same thing again, they do the different health checks, the blood pressure weight and stuff and just get the same thing done again.
 
I discussed it with my Mum and she thought it would be best as well to go on that because she knew that I didn’t take my pill and she didn’t want to be a Nan [laughs] with me that age so, yes she was fine with it as well.
 
And how did you feel in yourself when you started on the injection?
 
I was quite OK with it, I quite like, as I said, enjoyed the fact that I didn’t have to have periods and stuff like that although sometimes you did get like a bit emotional and stuff when you would have been due to come on but you just didn’t have the period or the pains and…
 
It did hurt actually for, it hurts the actual injection cos it’s quite a thick liquid and you can feel it being pushed in and then like if they overdo it, and cos I was so slim, I had to have it in my bum, in, cos that was there where there was enough fat, cos they didn’t like doing it in my arms cos I was so skinny. I did have it in my arms a couple of times and it really aches like for the next day, it’s really painful. It feels like someone’s just kicked you in your bum and something but other than that, I was fine with it.
 
OK so the actual injection hurt?
 
Yeah it actually hurts yeah and cos the liquid is thick. It’s a big needle and the liquid is thick so you can feel the liquid going in and then it’s, it’s painful afterwards like a bruise but more painful than a bruise actually. Yeah
 
And for how long does the pain last?
 
A day or a day and a half or two.

 

 

Chloe stopped using the Depo Provera injection because she was worried about its possible effects...

Chloe stopped using the Depo Provera injection because she was worried about its possible effects...

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You started thinking about it after that incident with your sister?
 
Yeah, I started thinking about coming off the injection when my elder sister who had been on it for twelve, eleven/twelve years had started to having problems and she had low oestrogen levels which was due to the injection. I don’t know the ins and outs of it and then, so she had to come off of that and she had to get injections of oestrogen I think as far as I’m aware and then she had to go on the pill and then come off of it because she was trying for a baby but I think that she had to have the other injection before, like before she could, to enhance her chances of having a baby. I’m not too sure, that’s what I kind of put together in my head.
 
So, what were your worries at that time?
 
I was worried that because obviously you don’t have periods and you’re supposed to have one every month, that maybe it was doing something to my insides and I, maybe there would be a possibility that I couldn’t have children and cos I’d been on it from when I was very young and throughout my key developmental stages, I was quite worried about that and I was convinced that it was stopping my breasts growing. I don’t know whether it was because I was so skinny as well but that’s something that I was paranoid about and I also did put on weight after I’d come off of it and they did grow so I don’t know whether it’s linked or not, so.
 
No you don’t speak to the doctor to come off of it all, most of it is done through the nurse and she deals with the contraception and stuff like that. And there’s not really a big discussion or consultation around coming off of it. I was just set that I wanted to come off of it and I said, “I want to come off it and start going on the pill,” and that was that I think. And so I didn’t get my next injection and got the pill and the right time to get it, you know, yeah.
 
OK, so you were having the injections every twelve weeks?
 
Yeah
 
OK. So by the date that you were supposed to have your next injection, you started your pill or you started before?
 
No, I no, I didn’t, I had a period and then started the pill.
 
OK
 
Yeah
 
And you had to use other form of contraception during that period?
 
No at that time I wasn’t sexually active, yeah.
 
OK but what did the nurse advice regarding protection?
 
The nurse advised that if I was to be sexually active to use condoms and yeah at that time they did advise about condoms because obviously contraception doesn’t protect you against different sexual infections and stuff. So I think around that time, I did have a conversation with my nurse about different contraception and stuff like that.
 
So how, how was the experience of getting your periods back? Were you sort of having painful periods or not?
 
At first when I first started to having periods, they was irregular, I couldn’t predict when they was going to come, sometimes there was spotting, sometimes there was heavy and then after about three months, they became more regular and then they wasn’t painful at first, I liked it, it was kind of a warming kind of comforting thing to have them and to have them regular and to think, a kind of a reassurance that, “OK your reproductive system is in working order,” kind of
 

Chloe advises young women not to be influenced by others, or to start LARCs too young, or to use...

Chloe advises young women not to be influenced by others, or to start LARCs too young, or to use...

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With using the injection as a contraceptive, I would just say make sure that you are comfortable within yourself and you’re doing it for you and you understand the risks. It does have different effects on different people so you can’t go by someone else’s experience to judge whether you want to but if you are to try it, I would say probably have the breaks and not for long periods of time because that’s when obviously the worser side effects are more likely to have an affect but I don’t think it’s a bad form of contraception, in moderation. And for younger women, I think that maybe they should think even more about it especially like how I was fourteen to, in the, like when you’re developing and things like that. I don’t know exactly scientifically if it does have this effect or that effect but just knowing generally that any substance that’s not supposed to be there when you’re developing or have an effect on your body.

 

Chloe used a Chlamydia testing kit provided by her GP surgery but, because her ex-boyfriend was...

Chloe used a Chlamydia testing kit provided by her GP surgery but, because her ex-boyfriend was...

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There is, in my GP, in my doctors there is free Chlamydia testing kits and so I took one of them, I took loads of them actually cos I was going to give them to my young people and I did the tests and sent it off, in the post, so you wee into the tube and fill out your information and send it off and they give you a reply by text but it’s a very discreet text.
 
Where did you send it to?
 
I think it’s the NHS but I’m not too sure what department it is, it’s Laboratory something, it says on it. But I didn’t actually wait for my results and told my Clinic in a Box lady that, a previous partner of mine has been tested positive for Chlamydia, I think there’s a good chance I might have it and I would like to take the treatment as soon as possible and that’s part of, that’s one of the tick boxes, so to speak, to get treatment if a partner that you’ve been with has it, then you’re likely to have it so they’ll give you treatment even if you haven’t yet tested positive because it’s highly likely that you are.
 
So and in term of treatment what did it consist of?
 
The treatment is four, four tablets, I can’t remember what it’s called, I can’t remember what it’s called, there’s two different treatments for it that I know. There’s two different tablets that you can take and there’s four tablets, you take them all at once and you can’t be sexually active for seven days and then it’s cleared.

 

 

Chloe and her boyfriend both had the single dosage treatment but then they sent another urine...

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Chloe and her boyfriend both had the single dosage treatment but then they sent another urine...

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So when you got the diagnosis, you said that you got a text message?
 
Yeah you get a text message.
 
And does the text message has a telephone number that you need to ring or?
 
Yeah. When they send you a text message after you’ve sent off your specimen, they send you a text message saying, “Can you please give us a call on so and so number about,” - I can’t remember exactly what it said, “about your results,” or something like that. Didn’t say what results or anything, it just said, “Give this number a call.” And…
 
But you knew?
 
But I knew yeah.
 
OK and how did you phone them or?

 

…I didn’t phone them because I had already taken the treatment by the time I got the text for my result.
 
OK. So you didn’t...
 
I didn’t phone them but they kept phoning me. They phoned me cos obviously I worked so, at the time I couldn’t answer their calls but they were persistent in trying to tell me and then I did get through to them and I told them that I’d actually taken the treatment and stuff and they wanted to know where and if my previous partner had got treatment and where have I directed my new partner to go for treatment and are you sure, they was quite, they wanted to make sure everything was right.
 
It might be two tablets, I’m not sure, but it was more than one tablet, all at once and that was all you needed to do and, yeah.
 
Where you re-tested afterwards when you’d finished your medication?
 
No. I wasn’t really tested afterwards but I had loads of them Chlamydia tests that I had picked up so I retested myself afterwards and I was fine.
 
How did you do that?
 
I sent off another thingy
 
OK
 
And my boyfriend did the same and he was fine.
 
OK so both on your own initiative?
 
Yeah cos I’ve loads of them that I’d picked up from the doctors surgery [laughs] so just did them.

 

 

Chloe was contacted by her ex-boyfriend and told she needed to go for a Chlamydia test because...

Chloe was contacted by her ex-boyfriend and told she needed to go for a Chlamydia test because...

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Can you tell me what, were the reason that prompted you to have the test?
 
I was with a long term partner and we split up and I didn’t have any tests in between my ex-partner and my new partner so I was with my new partner and sexually active with him and my ex-partner rung me to say that he went for a check-up and he had Chlamydia and he doesn’t know how long he’s had it for cos we hadn’t got tested before (during the relationship)and so I should get myself checked out. And so I did and I tested positive for it so that means also I passed it to my new partner and he had to get treatment for it as well.
 
And how did you feel when you, when your ex-boyfriend called you and…?
 
I felt a bit sick when my ex-boyfriend told me about it. I felt really cringey, like I was dirty or something. I felt obviously upset because it, he said to, like it was because he had cheated on me, so and, not just once, so he wasn’t too sure who he’d caught it from. Because when we first got together we had both done the test and was fine, so I know that it was because he had cheated during our relationship that he had contracted it to me.
 
OK and who prompted that first test?
 
We both did. We both… yeah we both did. It was kind of, cos like I said, cos around them, these times and them times, it was very much a boost in being sexually aware and stuff like that so we both did.

 

 

Chloe talks about the troubles her current relationship experienced after her ex-boyfriend told...

Chloe talks about the troubles her current relationship experienced after her ex-boyfriend told...

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My new boyfriend was quite upset. He got, had like different moods about it and be very annoyed and other points and cos obviously it wasn’t really my fault because I was in a long term relationship, I trusted him and he had given me it although whether I should have question, whether I should have trusted him is another matter because I was maybe a bit naïve but yeah so, he was kind of angry and then he obviously felt it for me because I had trusted this partner and he had cheated on me. But yeah he was quite upset, a bit disgusted, a bit angry, went from… changed every now and again, yeah.
 
OK, so you didn’t do the Chlamydia testing with the new partner?
 
No
 
OK
 
No I didn’t, so I should have done and I would think that like people should get tests done even if they think they can trust their partner because I thought I could trust my boyfriend of four years and obviously I couldn’t even though at the time, I would like argue anyone that, “Of course my boyfriend’s faithful to me, we love each other, we’re going to be together forever,” kind of thing but little did I know that he was cheating on me, so…
 
I think that he felt, I don’t think he felt good about it because obviously I assume, I think he said the GP asks the same kind of questions about how you contracted it and stuff, so he had to tell them, “Oh well, my girlfriend gave it to me and bla, bla,” so he didn’t feel too good about that and I think he felt quite embarrassed. He didn’t tell any of his friends
 
He didn’t?
 
No and… yeah he didn’t feel good about it at all.
 
And did you talk about it with your friends or did you feel embarrassed?
 
I did talk about it with my friends because for me it was kind of like, “Can you believe what he did, like, he actually gave me Chlamydia, he was cheating on me,” kind of yeah it was different with girls I think though because it was my ex-boyfriends fault as well and he, I did speak to my friends about it, so, yeah.
 
Did it affect your relationship with your new boy-friend?
 
It affected it for a while, yeah, cos he, depending on his moods, he would say, “I can’t believe like you gave me Chlamydia.” It’s quite degrading as well, like to think, “Oh no, I gave someone Chlamydia.” kind of thing but so it affect it for a while but obviously because of the circumstances and it, we got back together and I kind of trust my new boyfriend more than my old boyfriend although I shouldn’t have trusted him, so…

 

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