Published: Sat, July 08, 2017
Medical | By Garry George

Oral sex is making gonorrhea more resistant to antibiotics

Oral sex is making gonorrhea more resistant to antibiotics

About 78 million people catch gonorrhea every year - but the new antibiotic-resistant strain developed through a mistreatment of gonorrhea bacteria left in the throat after oral sex.

Every time you introduce a new type of antibiotic to treat it, this bug develops resistance to it.

World Health Organization estimates 78 million people a year get gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can infect the genitals, rectum and throat.

Gonorrhea is becoming harder to treat due to antibiotic resistance, health professionals at the World Health Organization has warned. Some countries - particularly high-income ones, where surveillance is best - are finding cases of the infection that are untreatable by all known antibiotics.

"In the United States, resistance [to an antibiotic] came from men having sex with men because of pharyngeal infection", she said.

A second report released on Thursday examined what researchers say is needed to address the growing problem of antibiotic resistance, including diagnostic tests for clinics and hospitals to readily identify if a person's strain is resistant to the recommended treatment, and, longer term, a vaccine.

"Typical symptoms of gonorrhoea include a thick green or yellow discharge from the vagina or penis, pain when urinating and (in women) bleeding between periods".

Gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics, but in recent years, common antibiotics have increasingly been failing.

Untreated gonorrhea may also increase your chances of getting or giving HIV - the virus that causes AIDS.

The discovery and development of new antibiotics.

Accelerate the development and registration of new molecules and drugs for the treatment of gonorrhoea, particularly those in the later stages of clinical trials that may be close to entering the market.

Manica Balasegaram, director of the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP), recently explained that the development of new drugs will be key in fighting gonorrhea, but that there are just three new antibiotics now in the works.

But "gonorrhea is a very smart bug", she said, and new antibiotics will likely quickly go the way of older drugs.

"It's important to understand that ever since antibiotics appeared on the scene, Neisseria gonorrhoeae has been fairly quick in developing resistance to all the classes of antibiotics that have been thrown at it", said Manica Balasegaram, director of the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership.

The WHO argues that when resistance rates rise above 5%, it's time to change medication guidelines.

In men, gonorrhea can cause a painful condition in the tubes attached to the testicles. "Though the burden of gonococcal infection is now not very high in India, we are more concerned about the problem of antibiotic resistance which can lead to a treatment crisis".

Gonorrhea is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhea and is transmitted through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex.

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