Health officials: oral sex spreading ‘super gonorrhea’

A dangerous super gonorrhea that’s spread by oral sex has health officials alarmed.

Both CNN and BBC have stories about the World Health Organization’s warning of the bacteria that is rapidly developing resistance to antibiotics.

“The bacteria that cause gonorrhea are particularly smart. Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them,” said Teodora Wi, a human reproduction specialist at the WHO, in a news release.

Oral sex is producing dangerous gonorrhea and a decline in condom use is helping it to spread, WHO said. About 78 million people pick up the STD each year and it can cause infertility.

“These cases may just be the tip of the iceberg,”  Wi said.

Caused by the bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhea, the STD is known to infect the genitals and rectum, but it can also infect the throat — which is used to a barrage of antibiotics for common colds and flu.

“When you use antibiotics to treat infections like a normal sore throat, this mixes with the Neisseria species in your throat and this results in resistance,” Wi said.

Thrusting gonorrhea bacteria into this environment through oral sex can lead to super-gonorrhoea.

What makes matters worse is that about one in 10 heterosexual men and more than three-quarters of women, and gay men, have no easily recognizable symptoms.

Dr Manica Balasegaram, from the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership, said the situation is fairly grim.

“There are only three drug candidates in the entire drug [development] pipeline and no guarantee any will make it out.”

New report says 1 in 5 Americans have cancer-causing HPV

The human papillomavirus  – or HPV – is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States.  There are 150 distinct types, two of them are responsible – according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention – for 70 percent of cervical cancer

The CDC announced last week that nearly half of U.S. adults have caught HPV. That is nearly 80 million Americans and about 20 percent of them — or 1 in 5 — have the kind the causes cancer. Other types of HPV cause genital warts.

 

 

About 45 percent of Americans ages 18 to 59 had some form of genital human papillomavirus. The report released last Thursday is the most complete look at how common HPV is among adults.

More concerning, about 25 percent of men and 20 percent of women had certain strains that carry a higher risk of cancer.

Vaccinations against HPV first became available in 2006, aimed at protecting kids before they become sexually active.

Geraldine McQuillan, a senior infectious disease epidemiologist with the CDC and the lead author of the report, said researchers were surprised to see the number of adults who had high-risk genital HPV.

Previous data estimated that 15 percent of adult females had high-risk HPV.

“The next step is to increase awareness of the high prevalence of high-risk genital and oral HPV in our general US population so individuals will realize that this is a serious problem and they will get their children vaccinated in early adolescence before they become sexually active,” McQuillan told CNN.

Syphilis sufferers now must face penicillin shortage

Drug giant Pfizer says it is experiencing “an unanticipated manufacturing delay” in producing the penicillin type used to treat the sexually transmitted disease Syphilis. Pfizer is the producer of the medication and the shortage comes just as the STD is making a comeback.

Pfizer wrote to consumers that it would be providing just one-third of the usual monthly demand until July, according to a story by National Public Radio.

Syphilis
The bacteria Syphilis, in a photo courtesy of the National Institutes of Health, is on the come back — and to make matters worse penicillin is currently in short supply by its manufacturer, Pfizer.

“Bicillin L-A” is the recommended treatment for people with syphilis and the only one available for pregnant women who are infected with or exposed to the STD. Syphilis is caused by a bacterium and like other bacteria, such as the one that causes strep throat, this type of penicillin is the cure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has asked that health care providers save the drug for people with syphilis, especially pregnant women. “And the real tragedy is that it is a treatable infection,” says Dr. Sarah Kidd, a medical epidemiologist with the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention.

 

Erin Fox, director of the Drug Information Service at University of Utah Health Care, says it’s hard to plan for drug shortages.

“Almost every hospital has a set plan for how they deal with drug shortages. The surprise that happens on a daily basis is ‘What product is going to be short?'” she says.

Pfizer says the crisis should be short-lived and the supply should be back to normal in July.

To read NPR’s full report click here.