A new “highly drug-resistant” strain of the STD gonorrhea has health officials in England very worried. So far, there have reportedly been 15 cases of the new “super- gonorrhea,” which is resistant to azithromycin, an antibiotic usually used in combination with a drug called ceftriaxone to treat the infection. The outbreak is thought to have started in the city of Leeds in March, and it has begun to spread throughout England.
Worst of all, we probably created it ourselves.
Basically, instead of treating the infection with azithromycin in conjunction with other antibiotics, some patients with gonorrhea were apparently receiving only the azithromycin, which left a few of the germs around. Surviving bacteria were able to mutate and become drug-resistant.
While the 15 cases that have been diagnosed so far may seem like an insignificant amount, health officials warn that many people carrying gonorrhea don’t actually display any symptoms, so there may be many cases going undetected. Officials also fear that the “super-gonorrhea” strain could start to spread rapidly, and with disastrous results. “The implication is there's a lot more of this strain out there and we need to stamp it out as quickly as possible," Peter Greenhouse, a consultant in sexual health based in Bristol, UK told the BBC. "If this becomes the predominant strain in the UK we're in big trouble."
Dr. Jan Clarke, the president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV had similar concerns, telling the BBC, "We are really skating on thin ice as far as treating gonorrhea is concerned at the moment.”
How do you know if you've got it? According to the Centers for Disease Control, symptoms in men include:
- A burning sensation when urinating;
- A white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis;
- Painful or swollen testicles (although this is less common).
In women, we're looking at:
- Painful or burning sensation when urinating;
- Increased vaginal discharge;
- Vaginal bleeding between periods.
So yeah, you do not want to get this. The best way to prevent it is not having sex (and yes, you can contract it via oral sex as well). Since that's obviously not an option, you might want to use latex condoms.
On the plus side, jimmies are basically free all over the internet.