Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea: New Facts

"WARNING - VENEREAL DISEASES" - NARA...

“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

Gonorrhea

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.

Salon.com: 

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

Study: Incarceration Increases Risk Of STI’s, HIV Infection

Something nobody ever seems to want to talk about: sex, prison and STD’s.

The study’s objective was to assess the link between incarceration and sexually transmitted infection, including HIV, from a social network perspective.

Data collected from a social network study in Brooklyn (n=343) were measured for associations between incarceration and infection with herpes simplex virus-2, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis or HIV and sex with an infected partner, adjusting for characteristics of respondents and their sex partners.

“Infection with an STI or HIV was associated with incarceration of less than one year (adjusted prevalence ratio=1.33; 95 percent confidence interval=1.01, 1.76) and one year or longer (adjusted PR=1.37; 95 percent CI=1.08, 1.74). Sex in the past three months with an infected partner was associated with sex in the past three months with one partner (adjusted PR=1.42; 95 percent CI=1.12, 1.79) and with two or more partners (adjusted PR=1.85; 95 percent CI=1.43, 2.38) who had ever been incarcerated,” the results found.

There is a need for STI and HIV treatment and prevention for current and former prisoners, concluded the authors. The results provide preliminary evidence to indicate that incarceration may influence HIV and other STIs, “possibly because incarceration increases the risk of sex with infected partners.”

I love it when science follows common sense. Well, at least informed common sense…

Gonorrhea: Not So Easy To Kill Anymore

Not anymore. . .

Think if you get the clap, you can just go get a shot or take a pill to be cured?

Not so fast, bucko. There’s now another reason to protect yourself:

Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlined laboratory trends from 2000-2010 that show growing resistance of gonorrhea to antimicrobials.  Gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease (STD), is a major cause of pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and infertility and can facilitate HIV transmission. (Press release, National Coalition of STD Directors)

Yep. Gonorrhea. It used to be a serious disease, before antibiotics made it easy to treat. Now that we’ve been taking antibiotics for everything, resistance is setting in and we’re running out of effective drugs to cure it.

…cephalosporin antibiotics are the last line of defense for treating the disease, as the bacteria has developed resistance to all other antibiotics.  The highest level of resistance to cephalosporins, regardless of sexual partner, was found in the Western region of the United States, particularly Hawaii and California, as well as in men who have sex with men in all regions.

“This new data outlines what state and local health departments have been seeing on the ground—that highly untreatable gonorrhea is near,” stated William Smith, Executive Director of the National Coalition of STD Directors. “There are currently no new drugs in development for this infection.  If this last class of drugs fails we will have no definitive treatment options for gonorrhea.  We call on researchers, government, and partners in industry to make the development of new, effective drug treatments for gonorrhea a public health priority,” continued Smith.

This is a big deal.

It’s important for sexually active persons to be screened for all STD/STI’s at least every six months, or more often if you have many sexual partners and/or have had unprotected sex- and that includes oral- gonorrhea can easily infect the throat. And, remember, any STD/STI increases the risk of contracting/spreading HIV. From the CDC:

Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems in both women and men.

In women, gonorrhea is a common cause of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). About 750,000 women each year in the United States develop PID. The symptoms may be quite mild or can be very severe and can include abdominal pain and fever. PID can lead to internal abscesses (pus-filled “pockets” that are hard to cure) and long-lasting, chronic pelvic pain. PID can damage the fallopian tubes enough to cause infertility or increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition in which a fertilized egg grows outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube.

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 spread to the blood or joints. This condition can be life threatening. In addition, people with gonorrhea can more easily contract HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV-infected people with gonorrhea can transmit HIV more easily to someone else than if they did not have gonorrhea. (emphasis mine)

We’ve taken the cure for granted for too long. So- be careful out there.

Full article here.