What was once a common yet treatable sexually transmitted infection (STI) is now still a very common but potentially untreatable and dangerous one to contract. Gonorrhea is the second most common infectious disease reported in the States today but it’s getting harder and harder to treat. Cefixime, the once effective antibiotic prescribed to clear the body of the bacteria that causes this infection, is becoming steadily less effective thanks to increasing resistance to the bacteria. Cefixime is not the first drug to face this resistance and the bacteria has won out against a multitude of other popular and once successful treatment options. Now, the options beyond this treatment are thin on the ground. So where does that leave us with what is a very common and spreadable infection?
Currently, a combination of ceftriaxione, an injectable antibiotic, and either oral azithromycin or doxycycline, are administered in combination. Considering ceftriaxone is more powerful than cefixime and that it is taken in combination with another antibiotic, the potential for resistance is likely to be stymied thanks to the speedy treatment period enabled by the potency of these drugs.
The importance of retesting post treatment is imperative, particularly in the case of gonorrhea considering the slow but steady eradication of available and tried and tested treatment options. The only way of testing the continued viability of the current treatment, and the only way of limiting the spread of the infection, is to make sure the treatment works in the immediate and that it is administered and taken according to prescription. This is also where the difficulty lies. It’s no longer as simple as prescribing a treatment which can be conveniently picked up from a pharmacy. Now, clinics must be equipped to inject patients there and then but all of this is a waste of time unless partners are treated too and unless the oral antibiotic is taken alongside the injection correctly and for the full course, even where symptoms have abated. Getting a retest can even be done online. This website - www.gsttsexualhealth.org.uk does tests by post with next day results.
Sometimes a risky event has occurred outside a relationship and although an infected person does not want to divulge a potential infidelity to a partner in order to preserve the relationship, they leave their partner wide open to infection. A partner might not develop symptoms but this does not indicate they have not been infected meaning that serious complications are likely to develop over time and reinfection will occur. Again, this decreases the drug’s ability to cure the infection and resistance looms largely in future treatment situations. The responsibility to tell partners about gonorrhea infection is huge considering the treatment resistance issue.
If this STI is left untreated, the side effects are potentially serious and can include infertility caused by pelvic inflammatory disease in women, the risk of ectopic pregnancy among pregnant women, and epididymitis in men. This condition affects the testes and can also lead to infertility in men. Furthermore, and as with all STIs, presence of an infection increases the risk of transmitting or contracting the HIV virus and other STIs. What will the world be like with a mass infertility problem and no way to treat it? The responsibility is on each individual to make sure that this doesn’t happen. We are not talking about in hundreds of years time either, we are talking about tomorrow. More can be read on this subject here.
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