|We’ve been hearing the warnings for years about the possibility of antibiotic resistant infections. Now a common sexually transmitted infection – gonorrhea – is in the spotlight. Recently, the Center for Disease Control issued a statement that gonorrhea is very close to becoming untreatable. There is just one antibiotic that remains effective in curing it, but untreatable cases of gonorrhea are showing up in Asia and Europe. To those of us on the front lines of STI prevention, detection and treatment, this is scary news, indeed.
Like many bacterial and viral infections, gonorrhea is able to mutate over time, so tried and true treatments must evolve to meet the needs of infected patients. We’ve seen this happen consistently with HIV medications. People living with HIV have to be monitored regularly to evaluate their body developing resistance to the anti-retroviral drugs. Luckily, new HIV medications have been developed and strategies to prevent the virus from replicating within the body have improved, so people have options when their current regimen is no longer effective.
Research into new antibiotics has not kept as current. Gonorrhea is not as prevalent at this time as the bacterial infections like chlamydia. It was, however, a huge problem in the past, before the introduction of penicillin in the 1940s. Many antibiotics have been used over the years since then. If – or should I say when – gonorrhea becomes drug resistant, I predict we’ll see a huge resurgence of an ancient plague.
For more information about gonorrhea, refer to Genevieve’s April 17, 2012 post.