Wait, this is a real thing?
I remember when we were learning about the birds and the bees, we also learned about the nasty side of sex. I lived in a state where they did not beat abstinence into you, we learned about condoms with the bananas and we fielded questions from fellow classmates like did a yeast infection come from eating too much bread. We were a little more progressive and open and this was in the early 1990s. But we were also kids and we would joke about herpes, syphilis, and super gonorrhea. How many times did we talk about someone having the clap, or say she was always clapping, not only getting applause but giving it to others. We were awful. But now, the clap (slang term for gonorrhea) may be here to stay and stay and stay.
Last July, Forbes.com stated:
Super gonorrhea is not the next DC Comics television show or movie, like Superman or Supergirl. It is a sexually transmitted bacteria, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, that is resistant to most if not all the antibiotics that we have available. A slang term for gonorrhea is "the clap"…but no one is clapping about the around 78 million new gonorrhea infections that occur each year. As a just-released World Health Organization (WHO) report explains, "data from 77 countries show that antibiotic resistance is making gonorrhea–a common sexually transmitted infection–much harder, and sometimes impossible, to treat." In fact the WHO has indicated that strains of untreatable gonorrhea have emerged in three countries: Japan, France and Spain. Just super. – forbes.com
Even though we had the term a couple of decades ago and we knew it was a thing, according to BusinessInsider.com, a man in the UK has contracted the first case of untreatable 'super-gonorrhea' after an encounter with a woman in south-east Asia.
The report published Thursday by Public Health England talks about the science of the resistance, but as well the sexual practices of the man.
The strain was isolated from a heterosexual man who had attended sexual health services in England in early 2018. The case reported one regular female partner in the UK, and a female sexual contact in south-east Asia a month prior to symptom onset.
He had visited a health clinic for treatment earlier this year, but the antibiotics azithromycin and ceftriaxone both failed to get rid of the disease.
So what is causing the rise in fears and the rise in the strength of gonorrhea? Last year the World Health Organization warned that there would be a rise in as they watched the increase in unsafe oral sex and people not using condoms as much as they used to. But it is of course not our actions that are creating the super gonorrhea but the mutations of the bacteria. Here's a cute little TED-ED video describing the science behind it all. Some of us want to know more and some are visual learners.
Gonorrhea is already a very prevalent STI (it was an STD back when we learned about it). New cases a year number around 78 million and doctors are noticing that these cases are becoming harder to treat. Now, we have the first true case of completely resistant super gonorrhea as the infection has developed a resistance to antibiotics.
We are investigating a case who has gonorrhea which was acquired abroad and is very resistant to the recommended first line treatment. This is the first time a case has displayed such high-level resistance to both of these drugs and to most other commonly used antibiotics. – Dr. Gwenda Hughes, the head of PHE's STI section
If you recall that film strip with the matching cassette, you will remember that gonorrhoea is spread by unprotected vaginal, oral, and anal sex. It can infect the genitals, rectum, and throat, and can lead to infertility if left untreated.
We often do not talk about STIs, unless it is AIDS/HIV. We get that nasty reminder every once in a while about an outbreak of this and that, but I feel that most of us just overlook or disregard the warnings. Are we just on one track when it comes to STIs?
And is protecting ourselves against ALL STIs just too much work?
What can you do to protect against super gonorrhea? Dispel the notion that oral sex is automatically safe sex. Unless you are sure that your partner does not have gonorrhea, use condoms or dental dams for protection. Of course, condoms or dental dams are not 100% effective but they are much better than using nothing. Moreover, don't automatically treat sore throats with antibiotics, and be clear to your doctor about your sexual history. You and your partner also should make sure you are tested and be upfront with each other about sore throats or any other symptoms. – forbes.com
Have you ever used a dental dam before? Have you ever seen one? I think the last time I saw one personally was in that health class in 1990.
Who uses condoms when it comes to oral sex?
With these "infections" stepping up their game … will we? Or will we just continue on with what seems to be the only discussion in town about STIs, about PrEP and/or condom use, and disregard the other things that may happen when two people get together sexually.