Immediate and Ongoing Impact of COVID-19 on Chlamydia Treatment in Australia

Article


Engstrom, Teyl, Baliunas, Dolly, Smith, Angela, Dean, Judith A. and Pole, Jason D.. 2023. "Immediate and Ongoing Impact of COVID-19 on Chlamydia Treatment in Australia." Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 50 (6), pp. 363-369. https://doi.org/10.1097/OLQ.0000000000001785
Article Title

Immediate and Ongoing Impact of COVID-19 on Chlamydia Treatment in Australia

ERA Journal ID16858
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsEngstrom, Teyl, Baliunas, Dolly, Smith, Angela, Dean, Judith A. and Pole, Jason D.
Journal TitleSexually Transmitted Diseases
Journal Citation50 (6), pp. 363-369
Number of Pages7
Year2023
PublisherLippincott Williams & Wilkins
Place of PublicationUnited States
ISSN0148-5717
1537-4521
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1097/OLQ.0000000000001785
Web Address (URL)https://journals.lww.com/stdjournal/abstract/2023/06000/immediate_and_ongoing_impact_of_covid_19_on.8.aspx
Abstract

Background
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the sexual health and well-being of individuals, directly through risk of contracting COVID-19, and indirectly through government lockdowns. Government restrictions were especially strict and long-lasting in Australia, they also varied by state, offering an interesting opportunity to study the impacts of varying restrictions. This study compares the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions on chlamydia treatment prescriptions during 2020, through to July 2021 between different states and demographic groups in Australia.

Methods
The rate of prescriptions per 100,000 population filled each month from January 2017 to July 2021 from Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for Azithromycin with a restricted indication to treat Chlamydia trachomatis was used to measure chlamydia treatment. The impact of COVID-19 lockdowns was modeled using an interrupted time-series Poisson regression model.

Results
The data included 520,025 prescriptions to treat chlamydia, averaging 37.5 prescriptions per month per 100,000 population. Prescriptions declined 26% in April to May 2020 when initial COVID-19 lockdowns began in Australia; prescriptions increased in the following months but remained on average 21% below prepandemic (2017–2019) levels through to July 2021. Prescriptions declined the most in 1 Australian state, Victoria, both in the initial lockdown and the following period; generally, states with more COVID-19 cases saw bigger reductions in prescriptions.

Conclusions
This is the first study to examine how treatment for chlamydia in Australia was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions not only in the immediate-term, but also ongoing up to July 2021, providing important information for planning for sexual health services in future pandemics.

KeywordsCOVID-19 ; Chlamydia Treatment
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020420201. Behavioural epidemiology
Public NotesFiles associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Queensland
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Canada
University of Toronto, Canada
Department of Health, Queensland
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