Doctors warn antibiotic-resistant super-gonorrhoea is on the rise – here’s how to stay safe

Doctors warn antibiotic-resistant super-gonorrhoea is on the rise – here’s how to stay safe
There were almost 45,000 diagnoses of gonorrhoea in 2017 in England, according to PHE (Photo: Shutterstock)

Health experts are warning that the number of cases of super-gonorrhoea is on the rise in the UK, as increasing antibiotic resistance has made the condition harder to treat.

Resistance to three of the key drugs used to treat the sexually transmitted disease has grown, according to the latest report from Public Health England (PHE).

Antibiotic resistance

Last year, heath officials warned a Brit had contracted the “world’s worst” case of super-gonorrhoea following a sexual encounter with a women in south-east Asia.

The treatment typically used to fight the infection failed, meaning the man had to be put on a drip of antibiotics for three days to cure it, according to The Mirror.

Now PHE are warning that the number of cases of the disease in the UK is soaring – and growing resistance to the antibiotics is limiting options for effective treatment.

Who is affected?

Any person who is sexually active can contract gonorrhoea, but those who change partners frequently or do not use a barrier method of contraception are more susceptible.

Health officials encourage people to practice safe sex to prevent contracting STDs (Photo: Shutterstock)
Health officials encourage people to practice safe sex to prevent contracting STDs (Photo: Shutterstock)

The NHS advises taking the following precautions to prevent the infection:

  • Using male or female condoms every time you have vaginal sex, or male condoms during anal sex
  • Using a condom to cover the penis or a latex or plastic square (dam) to cover the female genitals if you have oral sex
  • Not sharing sex toys, or washing and covering them with a new condom before anyone else uses them

STDs on the rise

Just last year, PHE revealed there were 422,000 new STD cases in 2017, around the same number reported in 2016.

Cases of gonorrhoea have risen by 22 per cent from 2016, with almost 45,000 diagnoses in 2017, figures for England show.

There were also 7,137 diagnoses of syphilis, a rise of 20 per cent compared with 2016, and a 148 per cent increase from 2008.

The number of chlamydia tests had dropped by eight per cent.

According to PHE, the groups which had the most sexually transmitted infections were:

  • Young heterosexuals aged 15 to 24
  • Black ethnic minorities
  • Gay, bisexual and other MSM (men having sex with men)

Around one in 10 infected men and almost half of infected women do not experience any symptoms, according to the NHS.