STIs Rise in Iowa Following Funding and Closure of Family Planning Clinics – Post Bulletin

IOWA – Sexually transmitted infections have increased following the closure of family planning clinics in Iowa,

a new study has learned.

The study, led by researchers from the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was published last week in the journal JAMA Network Open. This is believed to be the first study of its kind to examine the effect on sexually transmitted infections following the closure of family planning health centers due to federal funding restrictions imposed by US law. State.

The study was launched to better understand the effects of a May 2017 law in Iowa restricting funding to family planning health centers, facilities that later closed. Iowa is one of 18 states with abortion-related policies prohibiting the use of federal funds in clinics, which are used by many patients as their primary source of health care.

Closed clinics in Iowa offered abortion and sexually transmitted infection services in four counties (Des Moines, Lee, Scott, and Woodbury). The study authors used Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data for gonorrhea and chlamydia diagnoses between 2010 and 2019 across all counties in Iowa. They then compared the case rates per 100,000 people for the two infections and their difference before and after the shutdowns.

“The statewide burden of gonorrhea increased significantly” after the year of the closures, the authors reported. The study found that a gonorrhea case rate of 83 per 100,000 population in 2016 nearly doubled to 153.7 cases per 100,000 population in 2018. Chlamydia cases also increased from 414 per 100 000 inhabitants to 466 per 100,000 inhabitants. The calculations also showed a significantly worse gonorrhea rate in counties with clinic closures.

“Although there were fewer clinics reporting STIs in the last period,” the authors wrote, “there were substantial increases in gonorrhea and smaller increases in chlamydia, particularly in areas where clinics have closed”.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are bacterial infections that can be treated and cured with antibiotics, according to the

Guttmacher Institute,

an abortion rights research and policy organization.

These people with “untreated bacterial infections can, however, transmit them to their sexual partners”, “even when they are asymptomatic or do not know that they are infected”.

“Ensuring access to essential STI services,” argued the Iowa authors, will be of growing concern given the disruption of some 36 million people facing reduced access to abortion services, following the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States. Dobbs vs. Jackson.

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