Decades ago, the US government declared that Gonorrhea would soon be extinct in the United States. It is not.
The CDC reports that in 2003 83% of all Americans treated for Gonorrhea were black. Blacks were 18 times more likely to be treated than whites. Blacks are also more likely to have it and not get treated. This means the infection rate among blacks is even more than 18 times higher than it is among whites. In 2000, the CDC reported that a black person is 30 times more likely to be infected with Gonorrhea than a white person. The NHANES reports that in 2008, blacks were 20.2 times more likely to be treated for Gonorrhea than whites.
Because Gonorrhea is curable with antibiotics, but has not been wiped out, it is developing drug resistant strains. Drug resistant strains are being discovered in Asia.
The sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea risks becoming a drug-resistant “superbug” if doctors do not devise new ways of treating it, a leading sexual health expert said.
Catherine Ison, a specialist on gonorrhea from Britain’s Health Protection Agency said a World Health Organization (WHO) meeting in Manila next week would be vital to efforts to try to stop the bug repeatedly adapting to and overcoming drugs.
“This is a very clever bacteria. If this problem isn’t addressed, there is a real possibility that gonorrhea will become a very difficult infection to treat,” she said in a telephone interview.
Gonorrhea is a common bacterial sexually-transmitted infection and if left untreated can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility in women.
Globally, the WHO estimates that there are at least 340 million new cases of curable sexually transmitted infections — including syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis — every year among people aged 15 to 49.
Ison said the highest incidences of gonorrhea were in south and southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, but as yet the WHO has no breakdown by individual infection type.
Current treatment for gonorrhea in most countries consists of a single antibiotic dose of either cefixime or ceftriaxone.