According to a recent New York Times article, STD rates are falling—but not for the reason you might think. COVID-19 hasn’t caused people to stop having sex, but it has made STD testing and contact tracing much harder. A whopping 80 percent of sexual health screening clinics in the U.S. have had to either close completely or limit their hours during the pandemic. Contact tracers and testing supplies have also been redirected to COVID-19. As a result, experts are worried that the efforts to control one pandemic will end up fueling a resurgence of certain STDs.
Between April and June, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis rates had all drastically declined. The latter two had risen by mid-June, but researchers think rates are higher than what’s being reported due to the lack of testing and clinic access.