The fight against sexually transmitted diseases appeared almost won with medical advances. Then along came AIDS and HIV. A high profile campaign aimed at fighting the spread of AIDS had a significant impact in the West but the campaign was short lived. That is true of its effects also.
In some ways sexual freedoms have reverted back to the pre AIDS days when a "it will never be me" attitude was widespread. STDs were something other people caught but not us., right? Well as most people know after living and learning that is not true. You do not have to be promiscuous to be affected. One careless liaison with an infected partner is enough. In some cases it is the partner in a long term relationship or marriage who is "playing away" and putting the health of others at risk.
Antibiotics which once saved so many lives from a myriad of disease were over prescribed for years. Seen as a wonder drug they were handed out like "skittle candy". Diseases mutate down the years and now some antibiotics are no longer fit for purpose.
Gonorrhoea was the most second most common STD, sexually transmitted disease, in Europe in 2010. The high incidence of this disease is all the more worrying when you know that the antibiotics used to treat the infection are losing power. Cefixime is the drug usually used but the latest figures show that its healing power is waning.
According to official figures, "The proportion of cases with resistance rose from 4% in 2009 to 9% in 2010." Given the time frame that represents a huge increase. The report continues, "The drug-resistant strains are spreading fast around Europe. They were found in 17 European countries, seven more than the previous year. In 2010, more than 32,000 cases were recorded across Europe, data from the Stockholm-based ECDC found. Even though chlamydia was the most frequently reported STI, with almost 350,000 cases in the same period, the ECDC director singled out the gonorrhoea threat as a "critical situation".
Monitoring of the situation is under way. The race is also on, as with most antibiotics, to develop a new treatment which is effective. Yes the situation will get worse before it gets better, especially unless sexually active adults heed the warnings and follow sensible advice.
Gonorrhoea can be a killer disease. It can infect areas of the reproductive tract, including the cervix, uterus and egg canals in women as well as the urine canal in women and men. The bacterium can also grow in the mouth, throat, eyes and anus. Gonorrhoea is spread through vaginal, oral or anal sex. If untreated, it can lead to severe secondary diseases, abortions and infertility. It also plays a role in facilitating HIV transmission.
Not much of a prospect, is it.
Search online and you will find plenty of information regarding how best to prevent yourself contracting one of the many STIs. With conventional treatments beginning to fail prevention has to be the wisest course of action.
Advice at Kids Health
Do not die of ignorance
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog