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Syphilis and gonorrhoea among people with HIV during pandemic times: a report from Athens, Greece
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  1. Varvara Vasalou1,
  2. V Paparizos1,
  3. Evangelos Daskalakis1,
  4. Eleni Paparizou2,
  5. Sofia Kourkounti1,
  6. Alexander Stratigos2
  1. 1Sexually Transmitted Infections Unit, 1st Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Andreas Syggros University Hospital of Athens, Athens, Attica, Greece
  2. 21st Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Andreas Syggros University Hospital of Athens, Athens, Greece
  1. Correspondence to Dr Varvara Vasalou, Sexually Transmitted Infections Unit, 1st Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Andreas Syggros University Hospital of Athens, Athens 16121, Attica, Greece; vvasalou{at}gmail.com

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In response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, Greece adopted two nationwide lockdowns (March to May 2020, November 2020 to May 2021). We compared new diagnoses of syphilis and gonorrhoea among people with HIV (mainly men who have sex with men) made in 2020 with those from the previous 2 years in an HIV clinic with 1500 patients in follow-up. Syphilis was diagnosed on the occurrence of symptoms or during routine 6 monthly screening; diagnoses dropped at the beginning of the first lockdown but increased in subsequent months (figure 1), totalling 94 in 2020 vs 57 in 2018 and 83 in 2019. Gonorrhoea was diagnosed on the occurrence of symptoms or by contact tracing; numbers, although small, showed an upward trend (9 in 2018, 17 in 2019, 23 in 2020). Studies are needed to understand the influence of lockdowns on sexual behaviour and partner selection across Europe, where it seems that no significant changes were made.1 2

Figure 1

Monthly distribution of syphilis cases per year.

Data availability statement

Data are available upon request

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Acknowledgments

We thank Dr Georgia Vrioni (Associate Professor of Microbiology, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens) for all the expertise and assistance throughout all aspects of our study.

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Footnotes

  • Handling editor Anna Maria Geretti

  • Contributors VV—planning, conduct, writing and review. VP—planning and conduct. ED—writing. EP—references. SK—review and supervision. AS—supervision. VV and VP—responsible for the overall content as guarantors.

  • 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.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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