Cases of gonorrhea are on the rise, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that’s soon to be published in the journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Over the years, gonorrhea has adapted and become resistant to most antibiotic treatments recommended. Current guidelines recommend a combination therapy to treat the disease – the injectable antibiotic ceftriaxone, along with one of two oral antibiotics, azithromycin or doxycycline.
CDC analysed data from the Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project obtained between 1991 and 2006 from about 17 cities in the United States of America. Researchers wanted to find out if the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea would increase the overall number of gonorrhea cases.
In nine cities with low rates of resistant gonorrhea, the number of gonorrhea cases declined between 2000 and 2006. In the other cities however, all of which had high levels of resistant gonorrhea, there was an increase in the number of cases.
Although this study only identified an association, not causation, the results of the study are extremely alarming.
It can take a very long time for medications to get rid of gonorrhea, so even if someone’s been treated for the disease, they can still spread it if they have unprotected sex before the disease is completely gone from their system.
According to the CDC, the biggest worry is that gonorrhea may evolve even more to become resistant to ceftriaxone, which is the strongest medicine currently utilised to treat this STD.
The CDC recommends getting tested for the STD at least once per year and using condoms, regardless of where you live. If you are infected, get treated immediately and refrain from having unprotected sex until you’re 100% sure you’re cured.