Researchers analyzed how coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted testing for common sexually transmitted infections in a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Among patients aged 14–49 years, they assessed changes in chlamydia and gonorrhea testing and case detection during the COVID-19 pandemic. Chlamydia and gonorrhea testing was shown to reach a nadir in early April 2020, with reductions (relative to the baseline level) of 59% and 63% for female and male patients, respectively. Experts found a strong link between declines in testing and rises in weekly positivity rates for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
The findings show an influence of COVID-19 pandemic on routine sexually transmitted infection services, indicating an increment in syndromic sexually transmitted infection testing and missed asymptomatic cases.
To evaluate the long-term implications of missed screening opportunities, there will be required follow-up analyses. These data should signify warning for the potential sexual as well as reproductive health implications that can be anticipated from the overall reduction in testing and potential missed cases.