This Very Common And Treatable STD May Soon Be Resistant To Antibiotics
If you didn't have a friend (or five) in college who contracted gonorrhea at one point or another, let me give you the rundown.
Obviously, nobody is hoping to get an STD. But if you have to get one, gonorrhea is usually best-case scenario.
Why? Well, for the most part, it's treatable. Once diagnosed, all you have to do is take two antibiotics — azithromycin and ceftriaxone — and boom, you're fine. The only spooky part of it used to be the fact most women don't experience symptoms, so sometimes they never even know they have it. (Hint hint: GET TESTED.) If left untreated, it can cause infertility and chronic pelvic pain.
My intention wasn't to freak you out this fine Friday morning, but apparently, getting gonorrhea just got a whole lot spookier. In a new study released on Thursday, the CDC said the disease might become resistant sometime in the near future to those handy-dandy antibiotics we've been using for decades.
Again, this is not ideal, as I'm assuming most women are not trying to live with infertility and chronic pelvic pain.
So, how did the CDC find this out? Well, it examined over 5,000 instances of gonorrhea and found a definite increase in drug-resistant strains. The percentage of azithromycin-resistant cultures rose from 0.6 percent in 2013 to 2.5 percent in 2014. Meanwhile, the ceftriaxone-resistant strains doubled, going from 0.4 percent in 2013 to 0.8 percent in 2014.
I know the numbers seem low, and you're sitting here and thinking, "All right, Candice, thanks for freaking me out for literally no reason." But, I swear this is no joke, you guys. In an interview, the author of the study explained these findings prove untreatable gonorrhea is a "very real possibility in the future."
This is not the first time gonorrhea has grown resistant to the medication being used to treat it. Before we started treating it with azithromycin and ceftriaxone, we treated it with penicillin.
In a sort of extremely scary, apocalyptic statement that made me feel like we are living in a real-life sci-fi movie, Dr. Kilcady explained, "We think… it's a matter of when and not if with resistance. This bug is so smart and can mutate so rapidly."
The good news? In case you missed the memo, you can avoid the disease altogether by using a condom.
Citations: Gonorrhea may soon become resistant to all antibiotics and untreatable (STAT), Stock Up on Condoms Because Gonorrhea May Soon Be Resistant to Antibiotics (Cosmopolitan), Neisseria gonorrhoeae Antimicrobial Susceptibility Surveillance — The Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project, 27 Sites, United States, 2014 (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)