New Reports of Increased Resistance to Drugs Used to Treat Gonorrhea spark concern

A cluster of cases in Hawaii have exhibited higher levels of resistance to the drugs used to treat gonorrhea than previously observed in the US.

At the recent STD Prevention Conference in Atlanta, the Centers for Disease Control reported on the first cases in the US exhibiting dramatically increased resistance to the two main drugs that are used to treat gonorrhea. Gonorrhea is one of the most common STDs in the United States, and many people do not realize they are infected.  The cluster of seven cases was reported in Hawaii between April and May 2016 and showed increased resistance to azithromycin and newfound resistance to ceftriaxone. The two drugs are widely used in a dual regimen to treat and cure gonorrhea.

All seven patients were treated successfully and no other increased-resistance cases have been reported since. However, the findings highlight the growing risk of gonorrhea becoming resistant to both of the recommended therapy medications. The Hawaii cluster has alarmed public health officials and further sparked interest in the development of new treatment options for gonorrhea.

Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection that spreads through unprotected vaginal, anal and oral sex. It is one of the most common STIs in the US. The CDC reports that people under 24 appear to be most at risk of catching gonorrhea. Left untreated, gonorrhea increases the risk of HIV infection and can lead to a host of health issues for women, including pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain. 

At the same conference, researchers from Louisiana State University reported on a new, experimental oral antibiotic that could offer a new option for treatment and is currently being tested.