From The National Association of STD Directors (NASTAD) comes a new fact sheet, which begins with this:
For several decades, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has closely monitored gonorrhea and its potential to become resistant to available antibiotics. Gonorrhea is one of the most commonly reported communicable diseases in the United States. In 2011, there were 321,849 reported cases and another 400,000 estimated unreported cases. If left untreated, the illness can cause infertility in both women and men, dangerous pregnancy complications and can be passed on to newborns, possibly causing blindness or pneumonia. Gonorrhea can also facilitate HIV transmission.
The CDC now reports that gonorrhea has become resistant to all but one of the antibiotics recommended to treat it, and resistance to the remaining antibiotic is increasing. If no new antibiotics become available, gonorrhea has the potential to become a serious epidemic. However, by increasing public health infrastructure investment and encouraging pharmaceutical companies to create new antibiotics, we can prevent a public health emergency.
…and wondering about what makes a disease a crisis versus a judgment. The number of victims was the same.”
And to further the irony, the famous speech given by Mary Fisher to the Republican National Convention in 1992- 11 years after the rise of “gay cancer” was highlighted in a feature by the New York Times today:
TWENTY years ago this month, Mary Fisher took the stage of the Republican National Convention at the Houston Astrodome and delivered a 13-minute prime-time speech that was seen by many as a sharp rebuke of her party’s negligence in the face of the growing AIDS epidemic.
Mary Fisher in 1992 made what is considered one of the best American speeches of the 20th century.
Ms. Fisher, a mother of two young children who had worked in Gerald Ford’s White House, addressed the delegates as someone who was H.I.V. positive herself. “Tonight, I represent an AIDS community whose members have been reluctantly drafted from every segment of American society,” she said. “I am one with a black infant struggling with tubes in a Philadelphia hospital.” She added, “I am one with the lonely gay man sheltering a flickering candle from the cold wind of his family’s rejection.”
It was a speech that was both surprising and poignant. Few, including Ms. Fisher herself, expected that she would survive a disease that had already killed more than 150,000 Americans by the summer of 1992.
But Mary Fisher is still alive — and still taking issue with her political party.
As she should. The discrimination and loathing that prevented government intervention is still with us. It’s made itself known in issues of women’s health, gender inequity, transgender rights and the House defense of DOMA.
However, West Nile will probably not become the epidemic that AIDS did. Because mosquitos don’t discriminate.
From Men’s health comes this story about gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis- HIV is mysteriously absent- and some cool graphics:
In celebration of STD Awareness Month, we gathered data from the 2010 Center for Disease Control’s annual report to give you the breakdown on which states have the highest STD rates, and incorporated some need-to-know info about each of the leading culprits that are spreading across the U.S.
What to Look Out For: Gonorrhea often shows up within 10 days of infection, but typically there are no symptoms early on. Given time, though, it’ll raise it’s ugly head—discharge from the penis (and vagina for women), frequent urination, and discomfort during urination. As a bonus, it can also lead to epididymitis in men, which can cause infertility.
How it spreads: Gonorrhea is caused by bacteria and is transmitted through semen and vaginal secretions during intercourse. According to the CDC, it’s the second-most reported infectious disease with nearly 356,000 infections in 2007, but it’s estimated that about twice as many new cases actually occur but are undiagnosed and unreported.
Imagine being able to download a Facebook app that would alert you to your sexually transmitted infection risk based on your friend’s status updates. This may sound far-fetched, and it still is, but as some researchers shift their focus to risk among friend groups, as opposed to just sexual partners, social networks are rapidly becoming a tool to prevent the spread of (Sexually Transmitted Infection) STIs.
Peter Leone, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina’s Center for Infectious Diseases, is one of those experts. Earlier this month, he spoke at an international health conference and underscored the importance of exploring such possibilities. Real-world social networks — in other words, a person’s circle of friends and sexual partners — have already proved to be strong predictors of STI risk, he says. It follows that sites like Facebook, which convene all of those real-world connections in one virtual setting, have huge potential in this arena.
Leone found that when sexual partners of patients newly diagnosed with HIV came in for testing, 20 percent turned up HIV-positive. It might seem counter-intuitive to extend the targeted test circle to those a newly diagnosed patient is merely friends with, but people in the same social circle often sleep with the same people, and might engage in similar risk-related behavior. Instead of looking at people within a particular at-risk demographic, this approach allows them to target known clusters of infection.
Makes you think of the people on your “Close Friends” list a bit differently, doesn’t it?
HIV isn’t the only reason to use condoms. From Tim Horn:
The last line of therapeutic defense against gonorrhea is losing its strength, according to an editorial published February 9 in the The New England Journal of Medicine. With no new antibiotics effective against the sexually transmitted infection (STI) on the horizon, Gail Bolan, MD, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and her fellow authors are worried about an upswing in gonorrhea samples showing to be less susceptible to cephalosporins—the only class of drugs still widely effective against the bacteria.
“It is time to sound the alarm,” the authors state. “During the past 3 years, the wily gonococcus has become less susceptible to our last line of antimicrobial defense, threatening our ability to cure gonorrhea and prevent severe [associated illnesses].”
Gonorrhea, caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae, is the second most commonly reported communicable disease in the United States, with more than 600,000 new cases reported annually. Typically spread through sexual activity, it disproportionately affects vulnerable populations such as minorities who are marginalized because of their race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.
Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems in both women and men. Gonorrhea is a common cause of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), affecting roughly 750,000 women every year in the United States. It can be painful and may lead to internal abscesses—pus-filled “pockets” that are hard to cure. PID can also lead to fallopian tube damage and ultimately cause infertility or increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy.
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 also spread to the blood or joints, which can be life threatening. Additionally, gonorrhea can make it easier to either transmit or become infected with HIV.
…[the increased resistances] Bolan and her colleagues note, were most pronounced in the western United States (up to 3.6 percent) and among men who have sex with men (up to 4.7 percent).