The rate of sexually transmitted infections in Ireland has decreased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report.
There have been significant reductions in new cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, syphilis, and other common sexual infections at a time when opportunities for intimate contact are minimal, according to a study by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre correct up to May 30.
The HPSC said that chlamydia infections have fallen by 24% compared to the first five months of last year, while gonorrhea fell by 20%, genital herpes dropped nu 31%, and syphilis declined by 23% compared to the same time last year.
HIV, on the other hand, increased significantly compared to last year with 226 confirmed cases of the immunodeficiency virus so far this year - a 10% jump compared to the same time last year.
However, the statistics do come with a caveat and the downward trend in new sexual infections may be linked to the closure of sexual health clinics during the pandemic. The fall in new cases may additionally be linked to the reluctance of potentially infected patients to visit a hospital setting during the outbreak.
Dr. Derek Freedman, for example, a specialist in STI treatment for 50 years. told the Irish Times that appointments have halved at his testing, consultation, and counseling service since coronavirus was first diagnosed in Ireland.
The decline of tourism in Ireland, the closure of pubs and clubs, and a reduction in dating app meet-ups have additionally been cited as reasons for the fall in new sexual infections.
Dr. Freedman said that the pandemic could have a long-term effect on people's sexual behavior, which could result in a continued downward trend of new sexual infections.
"I think one of the overall side-effects of Covid-19 is that people are going to be much more careful about their personal risk-taking, particularly in the context of virus contraction. We are all going to be much more health-conscious."