One upside of the Coronavirus pandemic? Cases of STD/STI transmissions have plunged in New York City since self isolating and quarantine began. The number of confirmed cases of STDs fell 80 percent to 1,037 for the week of April 12, down from 5,073 for the week of March 1, according to stats from the city Health Department.
Dr. Kris Bungay, an internist with Gotham Medical Group in the West Village, told the New York Post, he treated three or four patients for STDs at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak but has not had any patients call to complain of symptoms in a month. “That’s what socially distancing will do,” he said. Some patients even elected to stop taking the HIV preventive treatment known as PrEP because they knew they would not be sexually active, he said. “There’s no point to taking something for preventive if there’s no way for them to get HIV if they’re not having sex,” he said.
This reflects findings found by The Body last Monday. The article, entitled “People Are Going off PrEP in the COVID-19 Era Because They’re Not Having Sex,” by Tim Murphy cited one story, “In Brooklyn, Jason Rosenberg, a programmer for a cultural institution, says he went off PrEP recently for the first time in a year and a half, not long after his last sexual encounter in late February. ‘Within a week of being quarantined, I figured out that this would be a long-term isolation and that I wasn’t going to be sexually active,’ he says. ‘I also figure our clinics are under a lot of demand with COVID, and my trying to get my PrEP refills and labs right now is taking time and energy out of people’s workday and health care.’”