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Cases of several sexually transmitted diseases increased in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report released this week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The number of reported cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and congenital syphilis exceeded 2019 levels, while chlamydia infections declined, according to a press release from Health Reports.
The number of STD cases initially fell in the first few months of the 2020 pandemic, but rose again later in the year, the federal health agency said.
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“In 2020, it sometimes feels like the world has come to a standstill, but STDs are not. The relentless momentum of the STD epidemic continues even as STD prevention services are disrupted. Jonathan CDC National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention Dr. Momin said in the CDC statement.
Compared to 2019, the number of reported cases of gonorrhea increased by 10%, while primary and secondary syphilis (P&S) increased by 7%, the report noted. Congenital syphilis also increased by 15 percent compared to 2019 and 235 percent from 2016, the federal health agency said. The CDC said early data showed that cases of primary and secondary syphilis and congenital syphilis also continued to rise in 2021.
The federal health agency said STD data for 2020 showed that groups that continue to experience higher rates of STD include younger Americans; gay and bisexual men; and certain racial and ethnic minority groups. The CDC found that lack of consistent access to health care, stigma and discrimination are possible reasons for this trend.
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“The COVID-19 pandemic has raised awareness of the well-known reality of STDs. Social and economic factors — such as poverty and health insurance status,” said Dr. Leandro Mena, director of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, in the statement — creates barriers, increases health risks, and often leads to worse health in some people. “If we want to make lasting progress in STD control in this country, we need to understand the systems that create inequities, and work with partners Collaborate to change them. No one can be left behind. »
While many sexually transmitted diseases have increased, the number of reported cases of chlamydia decreased by 13% compared to 2019, the report said. The CDC statement explained that underdiagnosed and reduced testing for STDs during the pandemic may have contributed to this trend, rather than a drop in new infections.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put enormous pressure on an already strained public health infrastructure,” Memin said in the statement.
This pressure may have contributed to several factors that contributed to the initial drop in the number of reported STD cases in the first half of 2020, the report said, citing the following factors:
- Reduced frequency of in-person health care delivery as routine visits decrease, resulting in less frequent STD screening;
- diverting public health personnel from STD work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Shortages of STD testing and laboratory supplies;
- interruption of health insurance due to unemployment; and
- Telemedicine practices that lead to some infections are not included in national data.
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The CDC says a collective effort is needed to regain lost ground in STD prevention.
The work will involve community-based organizations; public health workers; local health care systems and clinics; federal agencies report that both public and private sector health care providers help rebuild and expand STD prevention and control in the United States.