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Diagnoses of bacterial sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have increased in France since the 2000s. The main strategy to control STI transmission is recommending/facilitating access to condom use, testing, and antibiotic treatments.


This study analyses the evolution of STI testing in the private sector in France from 2006 to 2020.


National health insurance reimbursement data were used to determine numbers and rates of individuals aged ≥ 15 years tested for diagnoses of chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis in the private sector in France and to describe their evolution from 2006 to 2020.


Upward tendencies in testing were observed from 2006 to 2019 for all three STIs. The highest testing rates were identified in people aged 25‒29-years old. The observed testing-increase from 2017 to 2019 was twice as high in young people (< 25 years old) as in older people. In 2019, chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis testing rates were respectively 45.4 (+ 21% since 2017), 41.3 (+ 60%), and 47.2 (+ 22%) per 1,000 inhabitants. For all STIs combined, the number of tested individuals decreased by 37% between March and April 2020 during the first COVID-19 epidemic wave and lockdown in France.


Improvements found in STI testing rates may have resulted from better awareness, especially among young people and health professionals, of the importance of testing, following prevention campaigns. Nevertheless, testing levels remain insufficient considering increasing diagnoses. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had a considerable impact on STI testing. Partner notification and offering diverse testing opportunities including self-sampling are essential to control STI epidemics particularly in exposed populations.


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