Isolating the spread of STIs
Online Lifestyle Editor Elinor Jones outlines the potential for lockdown to eradicate sexually transmitted diseases.
Whilst we have heard high-profile cases were MPs and advisors have snuck off to partner’s houses, breaking lockdown rules, the apparent ‘ban on sex’ has been widespread across UK, offering a unique time to address the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV, chlamydia and herpes. Sexual contact of any kind (other than with household members) has been prohibited to stop the spread of coronavirus, with unexpected consequences for infections caught through sexual encounters.
Naturally, as isolation has resulted in people having fewer new sexual partners and less sex in general, the rate of infection with sexually transmitted diseases could fall dramatically, to the point at which some could be halted in their tracks if spotted now.
The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV is urging people to use at-home STI testing kits to get swift treatment
Sexual health experts have stressed the importance of widespread testing, much the same as with coronavirus, in order to prevent STIs proliferating once lockdown is eased. The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV is urging people to use at-home STI testing kits to get swift treatment for these infections, before seeing new sexual partners.
This once-in-a-lifetime event has seen the interruption of HIV transmission, which has historically led to prejudice against gay and bisexual men. By halting the spread of the virus, a future without needless suffering could be within reach, as the UK is committed to eradicating the disease by 2030. Lockdown, alongside a drive to make PrEP, a drug that stops HIV transmission, available on the NHS, could see an end in sight.
The rate of infection with STIs could fall dramatically, to the point at which some could be halted in their tracks if spotted now
It is important to remember that, despite 54 percent closed or offering limited services, NHS sexual health services can still provide help to those who need it. This pivotal, socially-distant time is a game-changer in the spread of infectious diseases, not least for infections that have persisted centuries longer than COVID-19.