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In The News: Gonorrhea grows resistant to common drug treatment

According to the U.S Center for Disease Control over 700,000 cases of Gonorrhea are estimated to occur within the United States. Sexually transmitted diseases are a scary thing to think about and for many, taboo. There are some STDs that are incurable like HPV and genital herpes, but Gonorrhea is one of the STDs that are both successfully treatable and curable. Well, at least up until yesterday – kind of. Don’t panic, let me explain.  As of yesterday anyone coming in contact with the std was most likely prescribed an oral antibiotic cefixime (widely known by its brand name: Supra) as a first line of defense. The CDC is no longer recommending that as a form of treatment against Gonorrhea.

Yesterday the U.S Center for Disease Control revised its guidelines for Gonorrhea after lab tests show that the disease was growing a bacterial resistance to cefixime. As of right now the last effective treatment would be the injectible generic antibiotic ceftriaxone, used in combination with another antibiotic – azithromycin or doxycycline.

The interesting part about this whole thing is that the change in the treatment guideline was done in order to preserve the last effective treatment option of using ceftriaxone with another oral antibiotic that is not cefixime. If the disease continues to grow a stronger resistance to cefixime and it’s used anyways then in some way it could learn how to become resistant to ceftriaxone as well.

Read what Dr.Gail Bolan, director of the CDC’s STD Prevention division had to say about it:

“The change in antibiotic treatment guidelines we are making today is a critical pre-emptive strike to preserve the last effective treatment option,” said Dr. Gail Bolan, director of the CDC’s Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention division.

“This will not solve the problem of drug-resistant gonorrhea once and for all, but it may buy us time to allow researchers and drug developers to develop new treatments,” Bolan told reporters in a telephone briefing.

This technique is used in the treatment of some other infections like tuberculosis in an attempt to make it more difficult for the bacteria to learn how to overcome the drugs. As of right now there are no cases of completely “untreatable” Gonorrhea in the United States but that there is evidence that its resistance to these drugs is growing stronger and stronger.

The best method of preventing a Gonorrhea infection is to remain abstinent from sexual intercourse and to consistently and safely use condoms. If left untreated, gonorrhea can cause serious health problems, particularly for women, including chronic pelvic pain, life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, and even infertility. Infection also increases the risk of contracting and transmitting HIV.


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