The Australian COVID-19 block has led to a significant drop in sexually transmitted infections, research shows.
Chlamydia is at an all-time low, with the latest data from the Australian Department of Health showing January to June, the lowest in a decade.
There were 37,582 positive tests for the STI in this period – down from 54,485 in 2019, 53,965 in 2018 and 60,687 in 2017.
The figure also surpasses the 37.9237 positive tests nationwide from January to June in 2010.
Chlamydia is at an all-time low, with the latest data from the Australian Department of Health showing figures for January to June, the lowest in a decade
Victoria was the only state that failed to pass positive tests in June.
The data shows 113 people who tested positive for Chlamydia in the Australian Capital Territory, down 31 from the same time in 2019, along with 1994 in New South Wale, down 495 and 1852 in Queensland, down 54.
One hundred and forty-nine tested positive in the Northern Territory, with 82, 444 in South Australia, with 64, 117 in Tasmania, with three, and 849 in Western Australia, with 22.
The figure had fallen in 2037 compared to the same month the previous year.
The Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) clinical adviser, Dr. Vincent Cornelisse, said it was easy to assume that the decline in Chlamydia reflected that people had less sex with casual partners during the lockdown then before COVID-19.
However, this does not mean that everyone no longer has sex with casual partners, so we must ensure that people continue to have access to sexual health services, he said.
“These data are difficult to interpret with certainty.”
It may also reflect a lower number of customers under investigation for STD services, said Dr. Corneilsse.
|STDs||TO TRADE||NSW||NT||QLD||SA||BAG||VIC||WA||STATES TOTALLY||YEARS TOTAL|
|Syphilis <2 years||0||91||22||81||4||1||51||58||308||2296|
|Syphilis> 2 years||1||18||4||7||5||2||142||20||199||1417|
“So we don’t know to what extent these lower STD rates are the result of lower transmission rates or lower screening rates, or a combination of these factors,” he said.
This is especially difficult for Chlamydia infections, as most Chlamydia infections are not symptomatic and are therefore often only detected when people have a routine asymptomatic STI screen.
“Likewise, syphilis and gonorrhea are often detected in people who have no symptoms and undergo a routine blood test for syphilis, or a throat or anus rod for gonorrhea.”
For gonorrhea and syphilis (
ASHM clinical advisor Dr. Vincent Cornelisse said, “Syphilis and Gonorrhea are often detected in people who have no symptoms,” so a blood test, or throat or anal smear, is necessary
There were 15,970 gonorrhea positive tests this year – down from 17,488 in 2019.
There were 14 positive tests in the ACT, down 16 for the same period in 2019, for June, along with 809 in NSW, down 57, 106 in the NT, down 582 in QLD, up 162, 150 in SA, down 27, eight in TAS, up 238 in Victoria, down 437, and 291 in WA, down 17.
For Syphilis (
There were zero cases registered in the ACT in June, four, 91 in NSW, 56, 22 in the NT, six, 81 in QLD, four, four in SA, 2, one in TAS, one, 51 in Victoria, down of 92 and 58 in WA, up from 10.
ASHM clinical advisor Dr. Vincent Cornelisse (photo) said it was ‘difficult to interpret this data with certainty’ because the low numbers could be a combination of factors
Dr. Looking to the future, Corneilsse said STI and HIV rates are being monitored closely.
“Over time, we will have a better idea of what is really happening with STIs and HIV rates,” he said.
Dr. Corneilsse encouraged Australians with STD symptoms or for a screening to seek medical attention.
Also, anyone who may be at risk for HIV is advised to start HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to reduce their risk of HIV, and I would encourage them to discuss this with their regular GP or their local sexual health service ,’ he said.
“It is possible to arrange HIV / STI testing and PrEP with telecare arrangements.”
ASHM clinical advisor Dr. Vincent Cornelisse (pictured) said the drop in Chlamydia reflected people who had less sex with casual partners during lockdown than prior to COVID-19
ASHM Clinical Adviser, Dr. Vincent Cornelisse, encouraged Australians with STD symptoms, whether undergoing screening or at risk of HIV, to seek medical attention