The treatment and diagnosis of an STI can be an intimidating and terrifying experience but one man has been dealt a particularly horrifying hand.
The unnamed UK was diagnosed with the "worst-ever" case of super-gonorrhea, according to the BBC. The man had a regular partner in the UK but contracted the superbug during a sexual encounter with a woman in South East Asia.
Public Health England revealed it is the first case where the infection cannot be cured with first choice antibiotics. Health officials are now tracing any other sexual partners of the man, who has not been identified, in an attempt to contain the infection's spread. The main antibiotic treatment - a combination of azithromycin and ceftriaxone - has failed to treat the disease. The World Health Organization and the European Centres for Disease Control agree this is a world first.
The disease is caused by the bacteria and the infection is spread by unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex. Symptoms can include a thick green or yellow discharge from sexual organs, pain when urinating and bleeding between periods. Three-quarters of women and gay men who contact gonorrhea have no recognisable symptoms and only one in 10 men can recognise the symptoms. If left untreated, the infection can cause infertility, pelvic pain and be passed on to a child during pregnancy.
The investigation is underway in regards to the man's sexual partner but there's a small chance one antibiotic could cure him. According to the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, the biggest fear is that the bug becomes untreatable by any antibiotic:
The emergence of this new strain of highly resistant gonorrhoea is of huge concern and is a significant development. We are concerned that the problem will worsen due to the dramatic cuts that have been delivered to the public health budget. Worryingly this has left sexual health services at 'tipping point', with clinic closures coming at the worst possible time.
A survey by Durex released in December found a worrying trend when it comes to STIs in Ireland. Interviewing 500 Irish people, the company discovered that sexual health was not high on the list of worries for young people who have unprotected sex. Here's some of the findings from the STI study:
- 68% have never had an STI check
- 54% have never asked a new sexual partner if they had recently had an STI check
- 53% admit that pregnancy is the biggest worry when having unprotected sex
- 43% mistakenly believe genital herpes can be cured with prescribed medication.
- 12% have had an STI scare
- Of those who reported having an STI scare, 10% say they were initially more intent on using a condom when having sex, but eventually fell back into their old habits.
- 36% would be too embarrassed to discuss the topic of STIs
- 38% would have the courage to inform all their recent sexual ex-partners of an STI risk
- 14% don’t consider having unprotected sex something they worry about