D Gregory Smith

Gonorrhea: Getting Harder To Kill

Filed By D Gregory Smith | July 11, 2011 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: antibiotics, CDC, drug resistance, HIV/AIDS, infection, LGBT Health, NCSD, press release, serious illness, sex, STD, STI

std_govt_approved.jpgThink if you get the clap, you can always just go get a shot or take a pill to be cured?

Not so fast, bucko. There's now another reason to protect yourself:

On July 8th, The National Coalition of STD Directors issued a press release saying that

...the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlined laboratory trends from 2000-2010 that show growing resistance of gonorrhea to antimicrobials. Gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease (STD), is a major cause of pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and infertility and can facilitate HIV transmission.

Yep. Gonorrhea. It used to be a serious disease- before antibiotics made it easy to treat- we've forgotten just how serious. Now that we've been taking antibiotics for everything, resistance is setting in and we're running out of effective drugs to cure that nasty drip. Maybe it's a good reminder that there are a lot of nasty things out there to be aware of.

...cephalosporin antibiotics are the last line of defense for treating the disease, as the bacteria has developed resistance to all other antibiotics. The highest level of resistance to cephalosporins, regardless of sexual partner, was found in the Western region of the United States, particularly Hawaii and California, as well as in men who have sex with men in all regions.

"This new data outlines what state and local health departments have been seeing on the ground--that highly untreatable gonorrhea is near," stated William Smith, Executive Director of the National Coalition of STD Directors. "There are currently no new drugs in development for this infection. If this last class of drugs fails we will have no definitive treatment options for gonorrhea. We call on researchers, government, and partners in industry to make the development of new, effective drug treatments for gonorrhea a public health priority," continued Smith.

This is a big deal. If resistance becomes widespread, gonorrhea could lead to some very serious health issues- and trust me, you don't want them.

So here's me getting up on my soapbox: It's important for sexually active persons to be regularly screened for all STD/STI's- at least every six months. More often if you have many sexual partners and/or have had unprotected sex- and that includes oral. Gonorrhea can easily infect the throat. And, remember, any STD/STI increases the risk of contracting/spreading HIV. A little reminder of how serious untreated gonorrhea can be might be helpful. From the CDC:

Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems in both women and men.

In women, gonorrhea is a common cause of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). About 750,000 women each year in the United States develop PID. The symptoms may be quite mild or can be very severe and can include abdominal pain and fever. PID can lead to internal abscesses (pus-filled "pockets" that are hard to cure) and long-lasting, chronic pelvic pain. PID can damage the fallopian tubes enough to cause infertility or increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition in which a fertilized egg grows outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube.

In men, gonorrhea can cause epididymitis, a painful condition of the ducts attached to the testicles that may lead to infertility if left untreated.

Gonorrhea can spread to the blood or joints. This condition can be life threatening. In addition, people with gonorrhea can more easily contract HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV-infected people with gonorrhea can transmit HIV more easily to someone else than if they did not have gonorrhea. (emphasis mine)

This may be one cure we've taken for granted for far too long. So, please, have fun, but be careful out there.

Let's keep our community healthy.

Full article here.


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Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 12, 2011 4:09 AM

Thanks for getting on that soapbox. Godzilla gonorrhea is probably already out there and who knows when it might get into the pipeline.

Bacterial super-mutations are becoming more and more dangerous. "NDM-1 (or New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase) is a gene mutation that arms many common and harmful bacteria like E. coli (NDM 1-producing Enterobacteriaceae) and Klebsiella pneumoniae with a resistance that can even withstand carbapenems." Guardian NDM-1, because of medical tourism, has now appeared in England and the US.

MRSA continues to mutate and resist antibiotics.

With killers like that on the loose the time be laid back about them is over.

Godzilla Gonorrhea- wish I'd thought of that, Bill.
Unfortunately, it's true. We're getting word that chlamydia is also rapidly forming heavy resistance- but I can't think of an alliterative reference for that one....

Yet another reason to keep beating the safer sex drum.

I think I read that technically, the strain is resistant to first-line antibiotics. I'm unclear of whether or not it is also resistant to more intensive and/or prolonged antibiotic therapy.

Doesn't take rocket science to figure this out -- but gonorrhea can be caught rectally as well. Pus on your stools might or might not be an indicator, but if you see it and you might have been exposed, it's time to go to doctor and check it out.

All this bareback shit going on ... it's fucking stupid, and I mean that literally ... we probably couldn't breed Godzilla Gonorrhea and Killer Clamydia any faster if scientists were doing it on purpose using Petri dishes and lab incubators ... and these nasty bugs will not only "get into the pipeline" ... they can get into your pipeline!