In 2020, significantly fewer people came to the preventive medical check-up, explained Mario Sarcletti, senior physician at the special clinic for HIV and venereal diseases in an interview with the APA. The doctor also emphasized the importance of making test and treatment options fully available even in lockdown.
In Italy, numbers show an increase
Figures from Lombardy and Milan have shown that the number of gonorrhea (gonorrhea) and hard chancre (syphilis) as well as genital mycoplasma increased in comparison from 2019 to 2020 despite lockdowns. In Germany, too, there would be similar figures from some regions. And also at the special outpatient clinic of the Clinic for Dermatology in Innsbruck, the number of HIV-negative people decreased in 2020, while the number of HIV-positive remained the same. This would show fewer people came to screening to get tested, Sarcletti said.
Diseases are often not discovered in time
The doctor therefore appealed to everyone to attend the examinations despite the lockdown.
A main problem was also that the offers for screenings were often reduced. According to an extrapolation from Emroy University in Atlanta, with a reduced supply, an even more massive increase in sexually transmitted diseases can be expected after the exit and contact restrictions have been relaxed.
Fewer patients but the same number of diagnoses
During the consultation hours for sexual health at the University Clinic for Dermatology, Venereology and Allergology, access for diagnosis and screening was always guaranteed, even during the lockdown phases, emphasized Sarcletti. Although fewer patients, including suspected venereal diseases, presented themselves here, the number of chlamydia diagnoses remained almost the same.
Trend towards more sexually transmitted diseases
In Austria, too, there has been a general trend towards an increase in sexually transmitted diseases, especially among men, said Sarcletti. This is due, among other things, to less respect for the now treatable HIV infection, careless sexual practices, increased sex under the influence of stimuli (chemsex) and – at least before the coronavirus pandemic – increasing international mobility and travel.
The re are now many patients with only mild or no symptoms at all, said the doctor. It is all the more important to go to regular checkups.