The multidrug-resistant strain of gonorrhea in the United States has been making headlines ever since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recent report citing the prevalence of the infection.
This is a major public health concern for a variety of reasons, most notably that the infection can spread with resistance to penicillin and other antibiotics. Secondly, gonorrhea is currently the second-most reported sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States, making the spread of this “super strain” a likely possibility. Thirdly, most cases of gonorrhea are asymptomatic – so many of the people who are infected may be spreading the disease without their knowledge. If not treated, gonorrhea can pose serious health risks, including easier transmission for HIV and infertility in both sexes, and pelvic inflammatory disease and ectopic pregnancy in women, according to Medscape.
The CDC is urging primary prevention in high-risk areas, including screening and partner services. They have also updated their treatment options for the super strain with injections and oral doses of doxycycline for a week-long period, including a follow-up.
Super strains of STDs are not uncommon in the United States. In the 1940s, resistance to sulfonamides for gonorrhea was widespread, eventually leading to the drug becoming discontinued. Drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea also occurred in the 1980s. According to the source, the number of patients treated for the current super strain of gonorrhea continues to grow.
No matter how these diseases evolve over time, it’s important to make sure that you and your partners are routinely tested for STDs to slow the growth of this infection. By practicing safer sex and making sure you are disease-free, you can better the public’s health as well as your own.