The mechanics of this defy explanation … except as an attention-grabber. Thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak, people keep their distance and remain masked even when they do venture outside, both here and in Canada. So how can venereal disease outbreaks intensify in a lockdown, unless someone’s doing one or the other very badly. Or both:
Nine of the country’s 10 provinces had declared STI outbreaks before the coronavirus arrived. Then shelter-in-place directives impeded access to prevention, testing and treatment as clinics slashed services and labs became backed up by Covid-19 tests.
Now health experts are warning the lockdown could intensify a recent resurgence in syphilis, chlamydia and even antibiotic-resistant strains of gonorrhea.
“They’re seeing numbers growing at a rate that is alarming,” Frédérique Chabot, the director of health promotion for Action Canada for Sexual Health & Rights, said in an interview. “People’s needs in terms of sexual and reproductive health are not diminishing during this emergency. In fact, it’s becoming greater.”
Shouldn’t it become smaller? At least in terms of spreading disease where it didn’t exist previously, yes. STIs get spread through unprotected sex with partners who have previously contracted the disease. In a lockdown, the rate of sexual activity outside of a household has to be declining rapidly, just on the basis of a lack of social forums in which to meet and hook up.