Despite lockdown, Israel sees rise in cases of sexually transmitted infections
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Despite lockdown, Israel sees rise in cases of sexually transmitted infections

860 reported cases of chlamydia and 314 diagnoses of gonorrhea since January 2020, a record number; global concerns that coronavirus pandemic is leading to reduction in STI testing

AIDS Healthcare Foundation condoms during a press conference, Feb. 14, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Bret Hartman /AP Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation)
AIDS Healthcare Foundation condoms during a press conference, Feb. 14, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Bret Hartman /AP Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation)

There was a significant increase in the number of cases of reported sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Israel in the first half of the year, despite some predicting a drop in the figures due to the coronavirus lockdown, the Ynet news site reported.

According to the Wednesday report, the Health Ministry said there were 860 reported cases of chlamydia and 314 diagnoses of gonorrhea since January 2020, a record number.

By way of comparison, the first half of 2019 saw 664 reported chlamydia infections and 254 diagnoses of gonorrhea.

A US epidemologist warned in May that many people were having problems getting diagnosed as the pandemic caused some clinics to stop walk-in tests for HIV and other STIs like syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia.

This 1975 microscope image made available by the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria magnified 200X (Dr. E. Arum, Dr. N. Jacobs/CDC via AP)

Travis Sanchez, an epidemiologist at Emory University, said this meant that those people could still be having sex with have no idea about their status, which he warned was a potential “ticking bomb.”

Last year, the World Health Organization said there were more than one million new cases of treatable STIs transmitted on a daily basis among people aged 15-49 years, with over 376 million new cases annually of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis, and syphilis.

If untreated, they can lead to serious health effects including neurological and cardiovascular disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirths, and increased risk of HIV, as well as being associated with significant levels of stigma and domestic violence, the Geneva-based organization said.

Syphilis caused an estimated 200,000 stillbirths and newborn deaths globally in 2016, making it a leading causes of baby loss.

AFP contributed to this report.

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