An anti-biotic resistant strain of the STD is making the rounds in England.
Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection, and it’s highly contagious. Usually treatable with medication, a new strain of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhoea is causing panic in England, with a nation-wide alert being sounded. Over fifteen cases have already been discovered since March, all from heterosexual partners, though gonorrhoea can affect anyone, spreading through vaginal, anal and oral sex.
What should I look out for?
Untreated gonorrhoea has serious health implications. What starts out with symptoms of a pus-like discharge, pain in the lower abdomen, penis, testicles and and/or vagina and the need to urinate more frequently, if left untreated, can lead to the infection spreading to the sufferer’s blood stream.
In women, gonorrhoea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can cause ongoing pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy and infertility. In the case of pregnant women, gonorrhoea can be passed on to the newborn and cause permanent blindness.
For men, scarring of the urethra and painful abscesses inside the penis can result from untreated gonorrhoea. In severe cases for both men and women, the spread of the disease to the bloodstream can cause arthritis, heart valve damage and inflammation of the brain or spinal cord.
There has been a rise in STIs in recent years, with scientists warning against the potential outbreak of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhoea for some time. As the second most common STI in Europe, just behind chlamydia, gonorrhoea has been discovered in seven countries since 2012.
“Many sexually transmissible infections in women, including gonorrhoea, have few if any symptoms, so a woman may not know she has gonorrhoea unless she has a checkup or a sexual partner tells her he has been diagnosed. Hence, why it’s important for all sexual partners of someone with gonorrhoea to be tested for STIs and treated ASAP,” advises Sydney Sexual Health Centre director, Dr Anna McNulty.
Using condoms is the easiest way to help protect yourself from STIs but choosing reliable partners, who are regularly tested is also important. Whether you are single or in a relationship, your health is always most important, so being careful should never be underrated, even if it means thinking twice about that one-night-stand wild on your next Eurotrip.
Image via theguardian.com