University of Oulu

Mäki-Koivisto, V., Sinikumpu, S.-P., Jokelainen, J., Aho-Laukkanen, E., Junttila, I. S., & Huilaja, L. (2022). Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Incidence of Sexually Transmitted Infections in Northern Finland in 2019 to 2022. Acta Dermato-Venereologica, 102, adv00795.

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the incidence of sexually transmitted infections in Northern Finland in 2019 to 2022

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Author: Mäki-Koivisto, Vesa1; Sinikumpu, Suvi-Päivikki2; Jokelainen, Jari3,4;
Organizations: 1Northern Finland Laboratory Center; Nordlab
2Department of Dermatology and Medical Research Center Oulu, PEDEGO Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu University Hospital
3Northern Finland Birth Cohorts, Arctic Biobank, Infrastructure for Population Studies, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu
4Unit of General Practice, Oulu University Hospital
5Research Unit of Biomedicine, University of Oulu, Oulu
6Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology, Tampere University
7Fimlab Laboratories, Tampere, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Society for Publication of Acta Dermato-Venereologica, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-06-05


The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic led to major restrictions in daily life and social contacts in Finland in March 2020. The effect of these restrictions on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is unclear. The aim of this study was to analyse the incidence and positive rates of sexually transmitted infections in Northern Finland between 2020 and 2021 and compare these with the years prior to the pandemic. Numbers of positive Chlamydia trachomatis, HIV and hepatitis C samples were lower in 2020 to 2021 than in previous years, whereas more gonorrhoea and syphilis was found during pandemic than in previous years. The number of new cases of C. trachomatis reported each month decreased in the first months of the pandemic, but exceeded the prior pandemic-level in autumn 2020. When the mean positive sample rates were compared with the years 2015 to 2019, there was a significant decrease in positive C. trachomatis (p < 0.001) and hepatitis C (p < 0.001) sample rates in both 2020 and 2021. The positive rates for Treponema pallidum in 2020 did not differ significantly (p = 0.38) from previous years. In conclusion, these results show that sexually transmitted infections occurred despite recommendations for social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, easy access to STI testing should always be available, even during exceptional circumstances.

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Series: Acta dermato-venereologica
ISSN: 0001-5555
ISSN-E: 1651-2057
ISSN-L: 0001-5555
Volume: 102
Article number: adv00795
DOI: 10.2340/actadv.v102.3401
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3141 Health care science
3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: ISJ was supported by the Academy of Finland (grants: 25013080481 and 25013142041), Nordlab Laboratories (grant: X3710-KT0011), Competitive State Research Financing of the Ex-pert Responsibility Area of Fimlab Laboratories (grant: X51409) and Tampere Tuberculosis Foundation.
Copyright information: Copyright © 2022 Vesa Mäki-Koivisto, Suvi-Päivikki Sinikumpu, Jari Jokelainen, Elina Aho-Laukkanen, Ilkka S. Junttila, Laura Huilaja. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. All digitalized ActaDV contents is available freely online. The Society for Publication of Acta Dermato-Venereologica owns the copyright for all material published until volume 88 (2008) and as from volume 89 (2009) the journal has been published fully Open Access, meaning the authors retain copyright to their work. Unless otherwise specified, all Open Access articles are published under CC-BY-NC licences, allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material for non-commercial purposes, provided proper attribution to the original work.