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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 …
Handling editor Anna Maria Geretti
Correction notice The article has been corrected since it is published. The author names have been updated.
Contributors AL designed the work, collected the data, wrote the manuscript and revised it. MGD analysed the data and wrote the article. MG collected the data and revised the work. FM collected the data and wrote the article. MZ reviewed the letter. AC approved the final version of the manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.