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Home testing for syphilis gains support in wake of COVID

With cases of sexually transmitted infections growing, researchers hope self-tests — made popular by the pandemic — could stem the tide.

Global cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have been on the rise in some countries. Even the COVID-19 pandemic — which locked down life in many ways — hasn’t halted the trend. In April, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the first year of the pandemic saw 133,945 cases of syphilis, a 52% increase since 2016 (see ‘Resurgence’).

And this is probably an underestimate, the CDC says, given that health-care clinics had to limit in-person visits at the start of the pandemic, and STI surveillance programmes found their resources shifted elsewhere. The situation sparked a push for at-home tests for syphilis and other STIs.

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