Super Gonorrhea is a Now a Super Threat

Monday, 23 July 2012 00:31 Written by  Aspyn Jones

HIV/AIDS and herpes may soon welcome another incurable sexually transmitted disease to its family.

The seemingly harmless, treatable STD known as “the clap” to many, has just become more dangerous, affording it the upgraded term of “super gonorrhea.”

On June 6, the World Health Organization announced that gonorrhea, the second most common STD according to the Centers for Disease Control—with chlamydia taking first, is increasingly growing resistant to antibiotics.

“In a couple of years, it will have become resistant to every treatment option we have available now,” says WHO scientist Dr. Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan in an article posted by the NY Daily News. “The available data only shows the tip of iceberg,” says Manjula.

The remainder of the iceberg is grim; this aggressive strain does not exhibit typical symptoms that accompany regular gonorrhea, which could make it harder for inflicted individuals to find out if they are infected. Those who have it are also more susceptible to HIV infection.

The reported catalyst of this resistant strain is the over-the-counter availability of antibiotics in some Asian countries. Antibiotic futility was first discovered in 2008, with roots in Japan. Soon after, it popped up in countries such as Australia, Sweden, France, and Norway.

There are 700,000 cases of gonorrhea are reported annually. Grave numbers, considering that doctors predict only being able to limit its spread, not eradicate it.This hearkens back to a similar concern in 2011, and other previous fears that gonorrhea would soon become incurable.

A strain of the disease, H041, stopped responding to cephalosporins, treatments used to rid the body of the infection. There are two types of these treatments. Cefixime, which is taken orally, and ceftriaxone, an injection.

There are “no other treatments” besides cephalosporins, according to Dr. Kimberly Workowski, STD infection expert, per MSNBC.

What is more disparaging is what this means for the black community. In 2010, The Centers for Disease Control reported that blacks represented 69 percent of gonorrhea cases. They were infected at a rate of 18.7 times than that of their white counterparts.

With another STD on the verge of becoming incurable, this “super” strain of gonorrhea is causing a stir amongst the health community. While efforts are being made to keep the strain under control, the classic methods of safeguarding remain intact.

Gonorrhea can be transferred via vaginal childbirth and anal, oral, or vaginal intercourse. The only method to prevent gonorrhea is abstinence. Practicing safe sex is also key, as condoms greatly reduce one’s chance of encountering STDs.


Aspyn Jones

Aspyn Jones

Aspyn Jones is a new GMO staff writer. She can be contacted at aspyn.jones@loop.colum.edu

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