‘Super Gonorrhoea’ on the Rise: New Treatment Guidelines

Nobody wants to face the worry and stigma of being sick with gonorrhoea or another sexually transmitted infection. Gonorrhoea is a sexually-transmitted infection that is often symptomless but in some cases, can cause an unpleasant, watery, green discharge from the vagina or penis or burning sensation when passing urine. If left untreated, it can result in serious illness including infertility in women and pregnancy complications. In addition, epidemiologic and biologic studies provide evidence that gonococcal infections facilitate the transmission of HIV infection and there is a high-risk of co-infection with chlamydia.

Until recently, being diagnosed with gonorrhoea may not have seemed so frightening because the illness could be cured by taking a single antibiotic injection or pill. However, gonorrhoea is on a growing list of infections that are becoming increasingly difficult to treat, with the number of cases of gonorrhoea resistant to the antibiotics that formerly killed them rising at a concerning rate. Multidrug-resistant gonorrhoea or ‘super Gonorrhoea’ has been reported in 36 countries, but is predominately associated with travel to Asia.

How Can I be Tested for Gonorrhoea?

If you have any symptoms of gonorrhoea or suspect you may have been exposed to it, you should visit health clinic. MedConsult provides quick, easy and confidential testing from a self-collected swab sample (for women) or from a urine sample (for men). Results are available in 5-7 days so it really is that simple.

If infection is highly suspected (i.e. sexual partner of someone who tested positive within the last 60 days) or if you are symptomatic, treatment is recommended straight away. If the treatment works, symptoms should improve within a few days. You should attend a follow-up appointment one week later, to test if the STI has been cleared and avoid sexual contact in this time.

How Can I be Treated?

Treatment guidelines as recommended by the CDC have changed substantially due to concerns about the spread of ‘super gonorrhoea’.

For patients with uncomplicated genital, rectal, or pharyngeal gonorrhoea, the CDC now recommends combination therapy with a ‘ceftriaxone’ injection – given as a 500mg as a single intramuscular dose - plus either azithromycin, 1 gram orally in a single dose, or a course of doxycycline, 100 mg orally twice daily for 7 days.

If ceftriaxone is not available, the CDC recommends cefixime, 400 mg orally, plus either azithromycin, 1 gram orally, or doxycycline, 100 mg orally twice daily for 7 days.

Both of this ‘combination therapies’ aim to treat both gonorrhoea and chlamydia as there is a high chance of co-infection.

In complicated cases, a doctor should be consulted. These include in patients with recurrent infection, long-term infection (due to risk of abcesses developing), ‘disseminated’ infection where symptoms are present in areas other than the genital area (i.e. eyes, throat, etc.) or in ceftriaxone or cephalosporin-allergic patients. At this point, the CDC guidelines recommend a doctor collects a specimen for culture and sensitivity, before you are re-treated.

The underlying conclusion is that you should seek medical attention if you are worried or just for a routine check-up. In most cases, treating gonorrhoea simply involves one injection and one dose of oral antibiotics – it really is that quick and easy. So don’t put it off – come in today and get tested and/or treated.

Please do drop us an email (info@medconsultasia.com), give us a call (02-018-7855) or send us a message (by SMS or Facebook (facebook.com/MedConsultClinicAsia/) with any questions or to book an appointment. Drop-in appointments are also welcomed – anytime between 8am-6pm Mon-Fri, 8am-1pm on a Saturday (Sundays are by appointment-only).


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