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Research letter
Is COVID-19 affecting the epidemiology of STIs? The experience of syphilis in Rome
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  1. Alessandra Latini1,
  2. Francesca Magri2,
  3. Maria Gabriella Donà1,
  4. Massimo Giuliani1,
  5. Antonio Cristaudo1,
  6. Mauro Zaccarelli3
  1. 1 STI/HIV Unit, San Gallicano Dermatological Institute IRCCS, Roma, Italy
  2. 2 Department of Dermatology, Sapienza University of Rome, Roma, Italy
  3. 3 Clinical Department, National Institute for Infectious Diseases, Lazzaro Spallanzani, IRCCS, Roma, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alessandra Latini, STI/HIV Unit, San Gallicano Dermatological Institute IRCCS, 00144 Roma, Italy; alessandra.latini{at}ifo.gov.it

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Dear Editor,

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, on 9 March 2020, the Italian government announced a nationwide lockdown programme of social distancing, self-isolation for contacts and prohibition of public events. People with other medical needs were still able to attend hospital outpatient appointments provided they carried printed self-certification to explain the reason for the journey to an inspection by the police.

Throughout the lockdown period, the STI/HIV Unit of the San Gallicano Dermatological Institute, the largest STI/HIV clinic in Rome, has remained open for emergencies, including STI testing for people with symptoms and for asymptomatic people at risk. Virtual consultations have also been activated.

From the start of lockdown, we observed a reduction in STI diagnoses, particularly of early syphilis. In the whole of March 2020, we diagnosed 15 cases …

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