Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea: New Facts


“WARNING – VENEREAL DISEASES” – NARA – 516044 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

Read the full fact sheet here: ncsd.astho_antibiotic_sheet

America’s Most-infested STD States

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.

Today’s free PDF: The Great Men’s Health Sex Survey


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.

Treatable? Yes, with antibiotics. [But something to keep in mind: Researchers recently discovered a new strain of gonorrhea, H014, that can’t be killed with current antibiotics. So playing it on the safe side makes even more sense.]

Excellent information, nonetheless. For Chlamydia and Syphilis info, Click Here.

Facebook: The Next Tool In Fighting STD’s?

Makes sense to me.


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?

Full story here

Breakdown Of The House HHS Appropriations Bill

Yep, it’s awful. They are funding $4 billion less than last year. $4 Billion.


The Republican majority of the House Appropriations Committee released their draft version of the FY2012 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill with a budget that was $4 billion less than FY2011.  There is no markup scheduled for this bill, thus members of the Subcommittee will not be able to weigh-in on the proposed bill. The funding levels contained in this bill will serve as the House marker when in conference negotiations on final spending levels with the Senate. As this is a draft bill, there is no report language, so some details on funding levels are not known.  NASTAD has included an updated chart. (link is below)

The bill includes many policy riders, targeting funding for syringe exchange programs, the Affordable Care Act, and Planned Parenthood. The bill bans the use of federal funding for syringe exchange programs. The bill also includes language that prohibits funding for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, including the elimination of the Prevention and Public Health Fund. In addition, Planned Parenthood and its affiliates can only receive funding after certifying that the organization will not perform abortions with non-federal funds.

Both the House and the Senate have voted on a continuing resolution that will fund government programs through November 18.

Some of the House draft bill highlights include:

Department of Health and Human Services:

Health Resources and Services Administration

Ryan White Program

The House bill flat funds all parts of the Ryan White Program, including ADAP. The Senate bill includes a $15 million increase to ADAP bringing the total to $900 million and it flat funds all other parts of the Ryan White Program.

Family Planning

The Title X Family Planning program was eliminated in the House bill. The program was flat funded at $299.4 million in the Senate version of the bill.

Community Health Centers

Community Health Centers received a decrease of $4.7 million from FY2011 in the House version of the bill. The Senate bill increased funding for Community Health Centers by $200 million from FY2011.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB

In the House bill, funding for the Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention was reduced by $32.7 million.  There is not detail about how these cuts will be divided among the Divisions or if DASH will be included in the Center.

The Senate bill level funds CDC’s HIV/AIDS and STD prevention programs, including HIV prevention by health departments, HIV surveillance, the Enhanced HIV Testing Initiative and Improving HIV Program Effectiveness Program. DASH was flat funded as well. The Division of Viral Hepatitis received an increase of $10 million for testing.

Needle Exchange

The House version of the bill bans the use of federal funds for syringe exchange programs, whereas the Senate version of the bill maintains current law on the use of federal funding for syringe exchange.


The House bill does not provide detail about funding of the Section 317 Immunization Program. The program received a $50 million increase from FY2011 in the Senate bill.

Prevention Block Grant

The Preventative Health and Health Services Block Grant was funded at $100 million, a $19.1 million increase from FY2011 in the House version of the bill. The program was eliminated in the Senate version of the bill and the President’s budget proposal.

Prevention and Public Health Fund

In the House version of the bill, all funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund was eliminated. In the Senate version of the bill, the Prevention and Public Health Fund received an increase of $135 million.

Agency for Children and Families

Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative

The House bill reduced funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative by $84.7 million to $20 million. In addition to this reduction, the House bill provides $20 million for the Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) grant program, which was previously not funded and the bill removes language requiring the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative programs to be evidence based.

The Senate bill level funds the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, maintains language requiring programs to be evidence based, and does not provide any funding for the CBAE program.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

The House bill’s funding of SAMHSA is still being determined. In the Senate bill, SAMHSA Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration was level funded at $63 million. The Senate Committee also encouraged SAMHSA to develop a demonstration project on hepatitis education and testing for patients and providers.

 National Institutes of Health

NIH received an increase of $1 billion in the House bill, bringing their total funding to $31.7 billion. The House bill also eliminates the transfer of $297 million from the NIH to the Global HIV/AIDS Fund. The Senate decreased NIH by $190 million from FY2011 levels and requested a transfer of $299 million to the Global HIV/AIDS Fund.

Department of Housing and Urban Development:

 Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS

The House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill flat funds the HOPWA program, while the Senate bill reduces the HOPWA program by $4.3 million, for a total of $330 million.   

State Department:


The House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations bill provided $7.1 billion for global health programs, but does not specify a funding amount for the Global Fund to Fight HIV, TB and Malaria. The House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill eliminated the $300 million transfer from NIH to the Global HIV/AIDS Fund.

The Senate State-Foreign Operations Appropriations bill provided $5.6 billion for global HIV/AIDS programs. The Global Fund to Fight HIV, TB and Malaria was flat funded at $750 million (and $299 million in the Senate Labor HHS bill) and Bilateral HIV/AIDS received $50 million less than FY2011.

FY2012 Appropriations Chart 10-6-11

Meth To The Madness

Edge New England has a great 2-part article on crystal meth and the gay community, highlighting work by Project Neon in Seattle and my friend Arnold Martin. I wish the author had spent more time talking about prevention, but on the whole, very informative.


Warning: pictures in the story may be triggers for former meth users.

They didn’t back-link the parts, so Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here.