Aside from the coronavirus, health experts worry that cases of sexually transmitted infection (STI) may surge as clinics remain close during the pandemic.

The National Health Service (NHS) has deployed staff of STI clinics and cervical screenings to help with the fight against the COVID-19 crisis, which halts the testing and treatment for STI.

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Glasgow
(Photo : REUTERS/Russell Cheyne)
A man walks past a message of support to the NHS, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Glasgow, Britain, April 28, 2020.

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This concerns experts who warn that "a massive STI problem" may arise after the crisis.

"For men and women who are infected, there is no doubt that services have been reduced. It is easier to get treatment in some parts of the country than others," Dr. Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of Patientaccess.com told Sun Online.

Jarvis also said this could cause delays that lead to serious health problems, especially for conditions like chlamydia.

Tracey Forsyth, the lead contraceptive nurse at British Pregnancy Advisory Service, has said in a report in The Independent how women are having difficulty accessing sexual health services.

"It is very difficult to access contraception, sexual health, and have smears at the moment. There were lots of cuts to services before this," said Ms. Forsyth, adding that it is likely to have a massive STI problem at the end of Covid-19.

Common STIs include Chlamydia HPV, Gonorrhea, Herpes, and Syphilis. Women are concerned about not being able to get smear tests to know early signs of cell changes in the cervix that can turn into cancer.

Forsyth also added that people who have chlamydia and gonorrhea and those they have had sex with should be treated.

Another health crisis

Meanwhile, Kate Sanger, the spokesperson Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, said NHS England had advised them to continue offering cervical screenings.

"Provision is patchy. While there are some women who will want to go, some won't be able to go because they are self-isolating," said Sanger.

This is why sexual health charities have urged the government to tackle the rising number of STIs in the United Kingdom during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Terrence Higgins Trust and British Association for Sexual Health & HIV (BASHH) report released in February drew attention to the "unacceptably high" STI rates.

In 2018, there were 447,694 new diagnoses of STIs, which is a 5% increase from the previous year.

Meanwhile, Dr. John McSorley, BASHH President, says they have seen a reduction in STI cases in clinics during the lockdown.

"The overwhelming majority of the U.K. population have done everything they can to save lives and protect the NHS by staying at home," Sorley told The Sun Online.

Last month, there was a reduction in sexually transmitted infections diagnosed in clinics, although this may be due to the inability to test.

However, as the lockdown relaxes, the U.K. population's sexual behavior can return to normal, and the government should fully support ongoing open access to excellent sexual health services in the U.K.

"A happy healthy and fulfilling sex life is a really important cheap and cheerful way of putting a smile back on everyone's face as summer approaches," said Sorley

While the clinics are still closed, people can have themselves checked using NHS says self-test kits for STIs that are available online. However, it is important to be cautious of the claims they make.

Also, make sure the kit is sealed, without any damage to the packaging, and is within its expiry date before using one.

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