Gonorrhea. Even the word makes you squirm in your seat a little bit. Well, brace yourselves, kids. It looks like gonorrhea has gone from an unpleasant and somewhat embarrassing minor annoyance to something you're really going to have to start worrying about. According to the World Health Organization, we're on the verge of an epidemic of untreatable clap.
The sexually transmitted infection, which is bacterial and thus curable, is also highly adaptable. It learns how to beat antibiotics quickly. This is bad news for a world where people use hand sanitizers like water and people insist that doctors provide them with antibiotics for viruses, which are not treatable with antibiotics.
An antibiotic-resistant strain of the bacteria has emerged in recent years, prompting the World Health Organization to urge doctors to increase their vigilance in reporting cases of the new strain. If left unchecked, this could become a full-blown epidemic. The bacteria is even becoming resistant to cephalasporins, which are often the last line of defense against particularly aggressive strains of the bug. The WHO warns that without careful attention, we're two years away from the super gonorrhea breaking out and becoming a serious health problem.
The first cephalosporin-resistant strain of the clap was found in Japan, raising alarms among medical professionals. This isn't to say that doctors won't be able to find alternate methods of treating the clap, but they would obviously not want to have to worry about such issues. Gonorrhea is quickly becoming the second most common sexually transmitted infection, closing in on the current reigning world champion, chlamydia. Antibiotic resistant strains have since popped up in such disparate places as France, Sweden, Norway, Great Britain and Australia.
The WHO is urging national health care organizations to step up their diligence in tightly controlling the supply of antibiotics. It's the overuse of these treatments that is causing an increase in this super clap strain, but also creating more virulent strains of other bacteria. Further, the WHO wants national health organizations to report cases of this superbug so that they can more accurately track the sexually transmitted infection as it spreads.
All of this underscores the need for personally responsibility on the part of the sexually active. STI screenings should be done every sex months or before you change partners. This will cut down on the spread of all STIs, not just this super strain of gonorrhea. Further, people should discuss sexual history with their potential partners. This might not be as sexy as doing the deed itself, but it's a lot more sexy than contracting gonorrhea — especially the one that has the WHO in a tizzy.
The sexually active who do not live in Japan, Australia, Great Britain, Norway and Sweden shouldn't rest easy, either. Part of the need for increased monitoring is because the WHO doctors know that the super strain has leaked (no pun intended… OK, pun intended) to other parts of the world, but as yet has not been reported.
Sex is a great thing, but it's even better when it's safe. Take care of yourselves and your partners by getting tested regularly and treated when necessary.
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.