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Report: Current Pandemic May Be Fueling Syphilis, Chlamydia Outbreaks

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COVID-19-related lockdowns and quarantines may be contributing to an increase in sexually transmitted diseases, Canadian health officials told Politico.

While a slight shortage of condoms — due to production shutting down in countries like Malaysia — may be partially to blame, some experts believe the closure of preventative services is more significantly contributing to STD/STI outbreaks. Health experts specifically mentioned a possible resurgence in syphilis, chlamydia, and antibiotic-resistant strains of gonorrhea.

“That prevention piece has really, really — we aren’t doing that at this time,” Heather Hale, the executive director of Saskatoon Sexual Health, told Politico. Hale cited the closure of drop-in clinics, where people go to easily obtain condoms, HIV and other STD tests, and talk one-on-one with counselors.

Frédérique Chabot, the director of health promotion for Action Canada for Sexual Health & Rights, said clinics are "seeing (STD/STI) numbers growing at a rate that is alarming."

Chabot states that people are still having sex during the pandemic — especially as nations like Canada ease stay-at-home orders — and without successfully distributing at-home tests and creating more telemedicine options, increased rates of STDs are inevitable.

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