Oral sex, lack of protection helping gonorrhea to spread: Doctors

Oral sex, lack of protection helping gonorrhea to spread: Doctors

Oral sex is causing the spread of an untreatable strain of one STD.


"Gonorrhoea is a very smart bug", said Teodora Wi, a human reproduction specialist at the Geneva-based United Nations health agency.

"Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them", she said.

The World Health Organization analysed data from 77 countries for the report, and found that gonorrhoea's resistance to antibiotics is widespread, with an unstoppable cases popping up in Japan, France, and Spain. Unprotected oral sex could lead to gonorrhoea bacteria in the throat, mixing with other germs and developing resistance to antibiotics.

Gonorrhea is a form of sexually transmitted infections (STI) and can cause infertility. But resistance to cefixime - and more rarely to ceftriaxone - has now been reported in more than 50 countries.

Typical gonorrhoea can infect the genitals, rectum and throat, but it is the last that is most concerning health officials.

The disease is caused by the bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhoea. Complications of the disease mainly affect women, with symptoms including pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility, and an increased risk of HIV. A decline in condom use is making things worse. There are not many new drugs to help in the treatment and the situation is fairly grim.

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"To address the pressing need for new treatments for gonorrhoea, we urgently need to seize the opportunities we have with existing drugs and candidates in the pipeline".

"We need to have new drugs or new development of drugs". It is only a matter of time before last-resort gonorrhoea antibiotics fail.

Easier to administer treatments, such as combination packages. "Any new treatment developed should be accessible to everyone who needs it, while ensuring it is used appropriately, so that drug resistance is slowed as much as possible".

"Specifically, we need new antibiotics, as well as rapid, accurate, point-of-care diagnostic tests - ideally, ones that can predict which antibiotics will work on that particular infection - and longer term, a vaccine to prevent gonorrhoea".

One of the problems in diagnosing gonorrhoea is that there is no affordable, rapid diagnostic test for the infection.

The disease can often have no symptoms and remain undiagnosed and untreated. When someone pops an antibiotic pill for a normal sore throat, the Neisseria species inside the throat mixes with the antibiotic, developing resistance.

The findings will be presented at the STI & HIV World Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil that runs from July 9-12.

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