Sexual Health news - Gonorrhea

Fewer options are available for antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea

In June 2012, the World Health Organization proclaimed that there were strains of gonorrhea circulating around the globe that were resistant to many antibiotics typically used to cure the sexually transmitted disease (STD). Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that this is a "gonorrhea epidemic" and that individuals should be warned about the adverse consequences of the STD, which include infertility and, in severe cases, death.

Gonorrhea is caused by a bacteria that flourishes in the warm, moist areas of the reproductive tract in both men and women. Affected individuals, especially females, often do not have any symptoms, and the condition can easily go undiagnosed. The CDC estimates that approximately 700,000 Americans get the STD every year and only half of the cases get reported.

As the gonorrhea bacteria became increasingly more resistant to treatment, the list of effective antibiotics has dwindled. Now, only ceftriaxone is left and has to be injected into a patient's muscle, and physicians must additionally prescribe a second dose of either azithromycin or doxycycline, according to the CDC's report.

The most important thing for sexually active individuals to do in order to prevent infection is to use condoms to create a barrier against invading bacteria or to abstain from sex entirely. In addition, routine screenings can catch STDs early and allow healthcare professionals to treat affected patients sooner and more effectively.

"We think it's only a matter of time based on the history of this organism until resistance does develop," said Gail Bolan, M.D., director of STD Prevention at the CDC, as reported by NPR.

Researchers believe that one day, ceftriaxone will cease to be effective against gonorrhea, and the condition may become deadly. Therefore, it's essential that individuals communicate with their partners and consistently practice safe sex.