Hold onto your butts, because untreatable gonorrhea is on the loose. The World Health Organization released an urgent report today citing that the global incidence of the sexually transmitted infection is on the rise, including cases where it resists treatment from antibiotics. In the report they write:
WHO reports widespread resistance to older and cheaper antibiotics. Some countries — particularly high-income ones, where surveillance is best — are finding cases of the infection that are untreatable by all known antibiotics.
Around 78 million new cases of gonorrhea are reported worldwide each year. Though not life threatening, the infection — which is spread through unprotected oral, vaginal, and anal sex — can cause pain, itching, bleeding, and soreness. Untreated cases may result in infertility for women, but most infections are asymptomatic, making it trickier to catch.
As a response to the new super strains of gonorrhea, the WHO recommended a new combined treatment protocol of two different antibiotics in 2016, but the organization is urging researchers to develop more advanced treatment options for a longer-term solution. They particularly call out pharmaceutical companies in their reluctance to create better drugs, citing financial gluttony as the motivating factor in their perceived inattention to the global health threat.
We’re far from a quick fix to address the new super strains. In the meantime, feel free to wrap it up to lower your infection risk.