A new threat has emerged — a new strain of gonorrhoea that is resistant to all antibiotics.
The standard way to treat gonorrhoea had been Penicillin, and so many strains of gonorrhoea had become resistant to it, and as such the new treatments Ceftriaxone, Doxycycline and Azithromycin were introduced. These treatments are no longer working and this is frightening.
Every time we get an infection and we treat it with antibiotics the germ tries to change, that is, tries to become resistant to the drug. The careless and widespread use of antibiotics in agriculture has contributed to this; in addition, in many parts of Latin America antibiotics are sold without the need for a prescription.
This strain of resistant infection was first seen in the East, in China to be precise. Then it was seen in Hawaii and is now in Texas, USA, and one has to wonder how long it is before it will be in Jamaica.
People will have sex, and they will have unprotected sex, and this germ will spread. Gonorrhoea is one of the more common sexually transmitted diseases, with over a million cases in the USA. In Jamaica at the Comprehensive Clinic I am of the opinion that it is by far the most common of the STDs treated.
The question must be asked, What can we do to stem this new plague and what are our options? The truth is, practising safe sex and using a condom each and every time you have sex is the only way to really prevent the spread of this disease.
What makes this disease more challenging is that the symptoms vary between men and women. A man may complain of a discharge from his penis which may be white, creamy or green. There may also be burning when he urinates, swelling of his testicles, and some increase in the frequency of his urine.
In women there may be a slight discharge from the vagina, pain or burning when urinating, some increased frequency of the urine, and some lower belly pain. Many times a woman can have this disease and be completely free of all symptoms, but she remains infectious and can pass on the disease to any man she has sex with.
In addition, gonorrhoea is seen at an increased rate among men who have sex with men, and they should be particularly careful and try and use a condom each and every time they have sex.
One thing is certain: We must start preparing for a world in which most of the antibiotics will not work.
Dr Persadsingh is a dermatologist in private practice. He is the author of the book Acne in Black Women. Call him at 876-960-2797.