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Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) may be impacted by Covid-19

The researchers say that this possibly indicates the observed effect may impact infectious diseases other than STIs.

With the health care community heavily focused on Covid-19, there have been concerns about the reporting of other diseases. A new study has revealed that this may have affected the reporting of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

For the study, published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, the research team analysed the number of reported cases of STIs within the US during the first 40 weeks of 2020 and compared the counts with those recorded for the same period in 2019.

And because the Covid-19 outbreak was first declared a US national emergency on March 13, 2020 -- near the end of week 11 -- the researchers used that as the starting point for comparing reported STI cases in 2020 with the number of Covid-19 cases documented in weeks 12 through 40 of 2020.

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THE SHRINKING NUMBER OF CASES

They obtained the numbers of cases for Covid-19 and three STIs -- chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis -- from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System managed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Comparing weekly incident case counts in 2020 from weeks one through 11 with weeks 12 through 40, the researchers found decreases for two of the STIs -- 20.2 per cent for chlamydia and 3 percent for gonorrhea -- while there was a 5.5 per cent rise in reports of syphilis cases.

Comparing cumulative year-to-date case reporting data at week 40 in 2019 with the same time period in 2020, the study found decreases in chlamydia (18.2 per cent) and syphilis (6.9 per cent) but no significant change in gonorrhea numbers (a 0.06 per cent decrease).

When compared with the number of cases reported each week for Covid-19 during weeks 12 through 40 of 2020, the weekly numbers for the three STIs appeared to inversely rise or fall for the most part with the coronavirus counts.

"In other words, periods of heavy Covid-19 case reporting seemed to coincide with fewer STIs being counted," said study authors from the Johns Hopkins University in the US.

COVID MAY IMPACT INFECTIOUS DISEASES AS WELL

The team showed that the reported case numbers for 42 of the 44 nationally notifiable diseases tracked by the CDC decreased from 2019 to 2020 for weeks 1 through 40.

The researchers say that this possibly indicates the observed effect may impact infectious diseases other than STIs.

Based on their findings, the researchers believe there is a critical need for innovative strategies -- such as patient-collected and mailed specimens -- to counter any impact in case of reporting during a pandemic.

LET'S UNDERSTAND STIs/STDs

Sexually transmitted diseases which are also known as STDs are infections that can be transmitted through sexual contact with an infected individual. How are they transmitted? Well,

STDs can be transmitted during vaginal or other types of sexual intercourse including oral and anal sex, but some are acquired simply by skin-to-skin contact. Scary isn't it? We get it. STDs can't be treated completely using home remedies, however, they can be under control if you try some of the effective home remedies.

HIV/AIDS, chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea, some forms of hepatitis, syphilis, and trichomoniasis are some of the commonly found STDs.

What Causes Sexually Transmitted Diseases Or STDs?

Sexually transmitted diseases or STDs can be caused by over 20 different types of organisms, such as

#Viruses such as HIV, hepatitis B, herpes simplex, and human papillomavirus (HPV)

#Bacteria such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis

#Parasites like Trichomonas

Symptoms Of Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Some STDs have only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Symptoms vary for each infection, but they can include:

#Discharge that is unusual or bad-smelling from the penis or vagina

#Lesions, sores, or bumps on or near the genitals and rectum

#Lesions or sores in and around the mouth

#Vaginal bleeding that is not typical

#Pelvic pain

#Pelvic inflammatory disease

#Pain and burning when urinating

#Painful intercourse or sexual activity

#Unusual pain in the lower abdomen

#Fever

#Rashes

#Genital itching

#Genital pain or pain in the butt, hips, or legs

#Flu-like symptoms

#Swollen lymph nodes

(With inputs from IANS)

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