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STD Levels Heading For Lowest Point Following Lockdowns

STD testing provider charts the rise and fall of testing demand during pandemic

London, 8th February, 2021 - Interest in sexual health services in the UK was heading for one of its lowest points during December 2020 according to research by Your Sexual Health. The private STD testing provider analysed over a thousand Google search queries to understand how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the nation’s sexual health and their attitudes to testing over the course of 2020.

Just like the first lockdown, demand for STD testing seems to be on the decline once again as the UK is in the midst of an extended period of no social mixing, a ban on overnight stays, bar closures and rolling national lockdowns. Although clinics and testing are much more available in comparison to last April, demand is heavily decreased.

December and January are usually busy months for STD clinics with increased socialising, alcohol consumption and a range of Christmas parties and events. Dr Rashid Bani, Clinical Director for Your Sexual Health, believes that the heavily toned down festive period in many parts of the country will lead to lower prevalence of STDs during the winter and even beyond.

“The run up to Christmas and into January is a busy time of year for all STD services traditionally,” said Dr Bani. “We’re already seeing a drop in the requirement for STD testing, and with so little mixing during this usually busy period we’re likely to see lower STD rates in the early part of 2021.”

Your Sexual Health found that people searching for STD testing halved during the first lockdown in comparison to numbers at the start of the year. During this period many clinics and testing services were closed or working times extremely restricted. Once the services reopened again, demand increased with STD testing figures reaching their highest point just before the second lockdown.

Dr Bani believes that those requiring tests during the first lockdown may have delayed testing or been unable to access the usual services. He said: “It seems during the first wave of the pandemic STDs were pushed to the back of people's minds and many clinics were closed causing massive pent up demand when things opened up. This would explain why levels were so low during the lockdown.”

“Once the bars opened up and people started mixing again, with overnight stays once again allowed, people’s sex lives were no longer on hold,” he said. “I believe this is why we see figures surging right up until the second national lockdown.”

Your Sexual Health have charted these trends by overlaying the data with events during the first and second lockdowns. It highlights the ways in which various important events relating to the progress of the pandemic affected interest in sexual health. You can read the complete article at https://yoursexualhealth.co.uk/blog/2020-a-year-in-sexual-health/.

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