Trends in STD cases during the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, reported sexually transmitted diseases in Austin Texas decreased and then resumed.

New CDC data show that between March and April 2020, reported STD cases decreased dramatically compared to the same period in 2019.

The recovery in gonorrhea and syphilis later in the year suggests that overall STDs may have increased in 2020.

As of 12 December, the cumulative totals of 2020 cases of sexually transmitted diseases compared to 2019 were as follows:

Chlamydia, 14% lower
Gonorrhea, 7% higher
Primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis, 1% lower
Three factors are likely to have contributed to the initial decline in reported cases:

Reduced screening in Austin Texas-many health care clinics have restricted personal visits to symptomatic cases or are closed
Limited resources – many public and local health STD staff were redirected from STD’s routine responsibilities to COVID-19 activities, which affected STD monitoring and reporting capacity.
Home-based orders designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 could have affected sexual behavior and limited STD transmission
COVID-19 pointed to needs and opportunities in the field of STD in Austin Texas.

The CDC has identified several ways in which STD services may meet more people who are-during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the future-including:

STD expression clinics in Austin Texas that provide testing and treatment without a complete clinical examination
Partnership with pharmacies and retail health clinics that can provide new access points for STD testing and treatment
Telehealth / telemedicine, which can fill gaps in testing and treatment, ensure access to healthcare providers, support self-examinations or patient-collected samples, especially in rural areas
Adequate public resources are crucial for effective control of STDs

The Austin Texas defense against the STD is weakened. It is important to set priorities and focus efforts on controlling the spread of STDs. This includes on-site support for prevention and surveillance programs at national and local levels.