The STI carries little or no symptoms, but can have a major impact on fertility
In vital sexual health news that’s no one wants to hear, areas in Britain have been hit by a new strain of gonorrhoea, that’s been labelled ‘super gonorrhoea,’ due to its resistance to antibiotic treatment.
Usually the sexually transmitted infection is treated by simultaneously taking two antibiotics – ceftriaxone and azithromycin, however the new strain has developed a resistance to the latter drug, meaning that it is currently untreatable.
Public Health England (PHE) is urging people to use condoms with new and causal sexual partners, and are extra concerned because due to gonorrhoea only displaying symptoms in 10 percent of those affected, large communities will unknowingly contract and spread the infection, resulting in many going untreated.
The British Association For Sexual Health and HIV have issued an alert to clinicians to follow up cases, and encourage that they trace their sexual partners. Its president Dr. Elizabeth Carlin told the BBC: ‘The spread of high-level azithromycin-resistant gonorrhoea is a huge concern and it is essential that every effort is made to contain further spread. Failure to respond appropriately will jeopardise our ability to treat gonorrhoea effectively and will lead to poorer health outcomes for individuals and society as a whole.’
Gonorrhoea is the second most common STI in the UK (after chlamydia), and symptoms in the few who exhibit them include a burning sensation when weeing and unusual discharge in both sexes; and bleeding between periods and lower abdominal pain in women, and testicular pain in men.
If untreated it can lead to in blocked fallopian tubes, the increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, and in some cases infertility and septicaemia.
The areas that have been hit by the strain so far are, Macclesfield, Leeds, Oldham and Scunthorpe, but patients have said they have had sexual partners from other areas of the UK.
As always, the message is loud and clear: the most effective way to avoid contracting super gonorrhoea, and any other STI is to protect yourself by using a condom.