- By Deb Balzer
Sexually transmitted diseases becoming antibiotic-resistant
The World Health Organization (WHO) issued new guidelines for the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis, in response to the increasing difficulty treating these bacterial infections. The report says the problem is a result of misuse and overuse of antibiotics. Of the three most common forms of STDs, WHO officials says gonorrhea has developed the strongest resistance to antibiotics. In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are more than 800,000 new cases of gonorrhea each year.
Mayo Clinic OB-GYN Dr. Jamie Bakkum-Gamez says, "Gonorrhea is becoming more of a challenge to treat because of drug resistance, and this is not a new concept in antibacterial therapy. Having a gonorrhea infection can lead to a variety of different problems, including infertility; pain; symptoms associated with infections, such as drainage; and infection of reproductive organs." She says, "For women, it can also lead to infections, such as ovarian abscesses that may require surgery to remove.
Dr. Bakkum-Gamez says prevention is key. "The best way to prevent sexually transmitted disease is to use barrier protection, such as condoms. Also, know your sexual history and be tested for sexually transmitted infections before initiating intercourse with a new partner. And, that partner should also be tested."