A sexually-active person is at risk of contracting gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease which is more common than most realize.
Typically, people only know they have gonorrhea if they are tested. So, thousands of people spread the disease to others without evening knowing.
New research shows the bacterium that causes gonorrhea is quickly becoming resistant to treatment.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 700,000 people are infected with gonorrhea every year, but that's only the cases that are actually reported.
This STD typically shows no symptoms and is outsmarting every treatment made to cure it.
Dr. Gail Bolan is with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
"We are now at the end of the pipeline and have no drugs to turn to if it becomes resistant to current antibiotics," Bolan says.
Recent laboratory data shows the bacterium has adapted to the antibiotic pill that's been used for the past few years.
"We are changing our treatment guidelines and sounding the alarm that we are down to the last, most effective drug," Bolan warns.
The last resort is an injection, plus a second antibiotic given by your doctor.
Then, the patient should be tested a week later to ensure there hasn't been a mutation around the treatment.
For now, this allows doctors and pharmaceutical drug makers to bide time until another antibiotic can be made keeping the population just one step ahead of a potentially uncontrollable spread.
"We're concerned that if we don't get new drugs in the pipeline, we could eventually reach the point that we have untreatable gonorrhea in this country," said Bolan. "That's a serious problem."
Left untreated, gonorrhea can cause chronic pelvic pain, infertility and increase the risk of HIV.
So, get tested and if you diagnosed with the disease, seek immediately treatment because right now one remaining antibiotic is the only shot doctors have to combat this silent STD.
The CDC says latex condoms can reduce the risk of transmission, but abstinence or a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship is your best bet at staying safe.
The following information is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website under a section entitled, "Gonorrhea –CDC Fact Sheet" (Source: http://www.cdc.gov/std/gonorrhea/STDFact-gonorrhea-detailed.htm).
The following information was obtained from the website Medscape.com in an article entitled, "New Treatment Guidelines for Gonorrhea: Antibiotic Change" (Source: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/768883).
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