Doctors are warning that sexually transmitted infections are on the rise.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says sexually transmitted infections went down during the early months of the pandemic, but most resurged by the end of that year. And numbers are still increasing.
“Patients were not going for their regular checkups, patients — even when they thought they were exposed — did not go for treatment," Dr. Tosin Goje, an OBGYN with Cleveland Clinic, said.
Dr. Goje said early on in the pandemic, many patients had what’s called a community barrier.
“They stayed in the same place. And imagine a person who is infected who is not going out, not traveling. There is a tendency to re-infect each other, especially in a small community," she said.
She said there are many ways to prevent sexually transmitted infections. The first and biggest step is education; the public needs to understand what exactly STIs are, and the signs and symptoms. Symptoms can include unusual discharge, itchy genitals, bumps, sores or warts, painful urination, and vaginal bleeding that’s not your period. One big problem is that STIs don't always have symptoms. That's why Dr. Goje said regular checkups are so important. Then a doctor can treat the infection and prevent further spread.
“If you think you got exposed to a sexually transmitted infection or you have high-risk behavior, or you had a condom fail you, or you just feel like you’ve been exposed, then you should request to be tested," she said.