News: We Might Be Running Out of STD Treatment

The once easy to treat STD, gonorrhea, may soon become impossible to treat. According to a new report made by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there has been a steady increase of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea. These cases have gone up by more than 400 percent between 2013 and 2014.

According to the report, the existence of the drug-resistant gonorrhea is very serious because it could soon be completely impossible to treat the STI. The study, by CDC, was published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Gonorrhea Cases in Asia

The first super bug strain of Gonorrhea that us resistant to all anti-biotics was found in Japan in 2008 but it wasn’t until last year that scientists expressed fears that the strain could become a global health threat.

Gonorrhea is one of the most prevalent STDs in the world and the highest cases have been reported in South and South East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. In the U.S. around 800,000 gonorrhea infections are reported annually. The STD is most prevalent among young people aged between 15-24 years. Unfortunately more than half of these cases go untreated every year.

The STD is most prevalent among young people aged between 15-24 years. Unfortunately more than half of these cases go untreated every year.

What is gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is an infection that is transmitted through sexual intercourse and is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria. Gonorrhea occurs in both men and women. Symptoms of the STD include a burning sensation when urinating, a discolored discharge from the penis in men and vagina in women.

Typically, the STD is tested in any STD clinic and if infected, the patient is given a combination of antibiotics to treat it. Currently, the recommended combination gonorrhea antibiotics are a dose of azithromycin taken orally and single injection of ceftriaxone.

However, over the years, the gonorrhea-causing bacteria has continued to develop a resistance to these and other drugs including fluoroquinolones, penicillin and tetracycline. The new evidence of resistance to azithromycin is quite alarming and especially because it’s unclear how much longer it will take before azithromycin becomes completely ineffective if resistance will continue to increase.

Unfortunately, most people will not experience symptoms gonorrhea and will therefore not go for STD testing or seek medical assistance until it’s too late. When left untreated, the STD is bound to cause serious complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility in women. There are rare cases of infertility in men reported as well. Some women may get gonorrhea in the uterus and therefore bleed between periods and have more vaginal discharge than normal.

Gonorrhea Cases Skyrocket

An STD surveillance report by the CDC conducted in 2014 showed that cases of gonorrhea as well as other STDs are skyrocketing. This increase, combined with the newly reported drug resistance, has made it necessary to advocate for the prevention of the Sexually transmitted diseases as opposed to treatment.

Anyone who is sexually active is at risk of getting gonorrhea. The CDC is therefore calling on people to use condoms correctly as an effective method of reducing the risk of infection.

The CDC researchers call for strengthening STD prevention services. To deal with the emerging threat, the CDC is collaborating with local and state health departments as well as community partner organizations to increase the reach of STD prevention services.