Lasting Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Care and Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections in the Midwest

Maya Patel, Nicholas Cardoza, Lawrence Weingarten, Nebu Kolenchery, Anne Trolard, Benjamin Cooper, Hilary Reno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background The COVID-19 pandemic reduced the general accessibility of health services. Many sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and treatment sites modified services (e.g., reduced hours, limited walk-in availability, decreased testing capacity), changes that may result in permanent change in STI service availability. At the same time, systems were driven to innovate in ways that could benefit patients. This study aimed to describe how the COVID-19 pandemic changed STI clinical services, with a focus on long-term impacts. Methods In July 2022, a phone survey was designed to assess services for STIs at the 105 STI testing and treatment providers in the St. Louis metropolitan statistical area. Sexually transmitted infection testing providers included STI clinics, primary care clinics that cater to a broad population, and community-based organizations, and excluded emergency departments and urgent care centers. In most cases, the survey was completed by a clinic manager, medical director, or nursing staff member. Results Of the 75 locations that were interviewed, 12 (16%) had not returned to prepandemic capacity and operations as of July 2022. Five sites had closed completely since the pandemic began, 3 of which are in the northwestern region of the metropolitan statistical area. Most (58.6%) of the open clinics had added telehealth appointments. Conclusions Sexually transmitted infection testing sites decreased during the pandemic with lasting impact in one area of the Midwest. Resources to support STI infrastructure should be expanded. Maintaining updated information on STI care providers in the region can aid future assessments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-298
Number of pages4
JournalSexually transmitted diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2024


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