Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Sexually Transmitted Infection Testing in the National Veterans Health Administration Patient Cohort During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic.

Beste LA, Keddem S, Borgerding J, Lowy E, Gardella C, McFarland L, Comstock E, Fonseca GA, Van Epps P, Ohl M, Hauser RG, Ross D, Maier MM. Sexually Transmitted Infection Testing in the National Veterans Health Administration Patient Cohort During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic. Open forum infectious diseases. 2022 Dec 1; 9(12):ofac433.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


BACKGROUND: We performed a retrospective study of chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) during 2019-2021. METHODS: We determined the annual number of chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV tests from 2019 through 2021 using electronic health record data. We calculated rates by age, birth sex, race, census region, rurality, HIV status, and use of preexposure prophylaxis. RESULTS: The VHA system experienced a 24% drop in chlamydia/gonorrhea testing, a 25% drop in syphilis testing, and a 29% drop in HIV testing in 2020 versus 2019. By the conclusion of 2021, testing rates had recovered to 90% of baseline for chlamydia/gonorrhea, 91% for syphilis, and 88% for HIV. Declines and subsequent improvements in sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing occurred unequally across age, sex, race, and geographic groups. Testing for all 4 STIs in 2021 remained below baseline in rural Veterans. Excluding those aged < 25 years, women experienced a steeper decline and slower recovery in chlamydia/gonorrhea testing relative to men, but quicker recovery in HIV testing. Asian Americans and Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders had a steeper decline and a slower recovery in testing for chlamydia/gonorrhea. Black and White Veterans had slower recovery in HIV testing compared with other race groups. People living with HIV experienced a smaller drop in testing for syphilis compared with people without HIV, followed by a near-total recovery of testing by 2021. CONCLUSIONS: After dramatic reductions from 2019 to 2020, STI testing rates returned to near-baseline in 2021. Testing recovery lagged in rural, female, Asian American, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and Black Veterans.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.