Sexually Transmitted Infections and the Pandemic
Since the start of the pandemic, Americans have been told to stay home and remain socially distant to stay healthy. While stay at home orders and quarantine offered protection from COVID-19, they came at a cost to routine health and wellness visits including STI testing.
A study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that screening for STIs in the U.S. dropped by 40 percent from the start of the pandemic in late February 2020 to April 2020. Testing improved in June 2020, but at that point, positivity rates for chlamydia and gonorrhea had increased from the year before and many cases were missed.
As vaccines are more widely available and we begin to emerge from the pandemic, it is not uncommon to search for normalcy and that includes dating, connecting with others, and casual sex but taking steps to stay safe will protect you from contracting and spreading STIs.
The good news is that STIs are preventable and according to the CDC, there are ways to avoid getting or giving an STI:
- Practice abstinence
- Use condoms
- Have fewer partners
- Get vaccinated
- Talk with your partner
- Get tested and start treatment immediately if positive
Getting Tested with GenPath Women’s Health
At GenPath Women’s Health, a division of BioReference Laboratories, we offer a convenient list of tests that can provide your healthcare provider with timely test results for multiple infections from easy-to-collect samples. These tests allow you to be aware of your status, actively treat infection, and potentially avoid further complications, including risks related to undiagnosed or untreated infections if you are expecting a baby. Make sure to have an open and honest conversation about your sexual history with your healthcare provider to determine whether you should be screened for STIs.
If you are a healthcare provider, click here to become a client so you can begin ordering STI and other tests.