Gonorrhea may soon be resistant to treatment. This is certainly not good, considering the bacterial infection—which can be transmitted unknowingly through vaginal, oral, or anal sex — iinfects millions each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We could be facing the real possibility of untreatable gonorrhea, says Dr. Robert Kirkcaldy, medical epidemiologist and antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea expert at the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention.
In recent years, effective treatment options for the newest strain of drug-resistant gonorrhea have dwindled down to one – the injectable antibiotic cefriazoxone, recommended in conjunction with an oral antibiotic. That’s because the bacteria that cause gonorrhea mutate quickly and develop resistance to antibiotics quite rapidly.
According to Kirkcaldy, the CDC is urging drug companies to research new drugs, and new combinations of existing drugs to buy time, while an ongoing clinical trial is expected to provide some additional options, as well.
According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, women have a 60-80 percent risk of contracting the disease after just one one-night stand with a medure was an who has it. While symptoms depend on which part of the body is infected, the infection is asymptomatic in 50 percent of female carriers, so it can easily be passed along unknowingly.
Left untreated, the STI can trigger chronic pelvic pain, pregnancy complications, and even infertility in women and an increased risk of contracting HIV. Men experience uncomfortable urination and discharge.
The best line of defense is not to get gonorrhea through abstinence or sexual fidelity with a monogamous, uninfected partner.