The COVID-19 lockdown period has presented a once-in-a-generation opportunity in the fight against sexually-transmitted diseases says a leading sexual health expert.

President-elect of the Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine Dr Massimo Giola says that, because of the lack of casual sexual contact during the lockdown period, there is now a once-in-a-generation chance to break the transmission chain of some sexually-transmitted diseases.

To do this people should get an STI test now, before resuming casual sex, he says.

56 Dean Street in Soho, the biggest sexual health clinic in the UK, reports it has seen an 80% fall in gonorrhoea cases and requests for PEP under lockdown in London. See story link here:

The same opportunity that exists in the UK exists in NZ too says BOPDHB Sexual Health Service Clinical Lead Dr Giola.

“If people have been serious about Levels 4 & 3, they should not have had sex in 6 weeks with anyone outside their bubble,” he says.

“If now everyone gets tested for all STIs before social (and sexual) interactions resume and they pop the bubble open, as all incubation and window periods are over, we have a serious chance of diagnosing and treating STIs before they are passed on.”

Dr Giola wants to reach out to the public and invite them to contact their GP for an STI check, or to call the sexual health clinic for an appointment if they are uncomfortable about speaking to their GP about their sex lives, or they belong to a priority, more vulnerable population.