Potential impact of covid-19 pandemic on national and regional prevalence, epidemiology and diagnostic tests of chlamydia and gonorrhea in Sweden, 2020 – Saarentausta – – APMIS
Saarentausta K, Ivarsson L, Jacobsson S, Herrmann B, Sundqvist M, Unemo M. Potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the incidence, epidemiology and diagnostic tests of chlamydia and gonorrhea in Sweden, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged societies and healthcare systems globally and resulted in many social and physical distance restrictions to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2. These restrictions have probably also affected the frequency of intimate contact and the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Compared with most other countries, Sweden, especially in the spring-autumn of 2020, sought mainly milder voluntariness, ie not compulsorily enforced by laws, recommended restrictions and their effects on society and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases are largely unknown. We describe the potential impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the national and regional incidence, epidemiology and diagnostic tests of chlamydia and gonorrhea in Sweden in 2020. Compared with 2019, we found a significant reduction in the incidence of chlamydia (-4.5%) and gonorrhea (-17.5%) and in diagnostic tests (-10.5% for chlamydia, -9.4% for gonorrhea) 2020. However, the reduction in the incidence of chlamydia, which has mainly decreased in the last 10 years, was not significant compared to the average incidence 2017-2019. The largest decrease in national incidence of both infections was observed among young and heterosexual patients, but some Swedish regions showed an increased incidence, especially of chlamydia. The increased “Internet-based self-sampling” test method partially compensated for a reduced attendance at STI clinics. Studies, including sexual behavior, prevention, causes of STI care, STI at various anatomical sites, and management of STIs, are required to elucidate the effect of covid-19-associated social and physical distance restrictions on sexual activity and the occurrence and epidemiology of chlamydia and gonorrhea in Sweden.