CDC says antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea rapidly increasing, specifically in Midwest

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Antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea has grown exponentially in the past few years, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the increase was greatest in the Midwest.

The report outlines the resistance level of gonorrhea to azithromycin, one of the two drugs recommended for dual therapy treatment of the disease. The resistance level increased from 0.6 percent in 2013 to 2.5 percent in 2014. That’s a 316 percent increase in just one year.

The CDC calls the findings “deeply troubling.”

“While no treatment failures have been reported in the United States, this data shows a very troubling trend, one that NCSD has been raising a clarion call on for years: that gonorrhea is steadily outwitting the drugs we have to treat it,” stated William Smith, Executive Director of the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD).  “This is shown not only by this data, but also the recent gonorrhea treatment failure in the United Kingdom.  Not only do we need new drugs to fight this infection but we also need additional resources to address our current gonorrhea epidemic, as rates are currently rising across the country,” continued Smith.

The CDC’s most recent STD surveillance data report found that in 2014, gonorrhea increased by five percent, driven by a concerning 10 percent increase among men.  In addition, between 2009 and 2013, the gonorrhea rate among men increased 20.3 percent.

The increasing gonorrhea resistance to azithromycin was seen in all regions of the country, but it was greatest in the Midwest.

Additionally, the CDC reports the increase wasn’t contained to just on population group, and the data shows the troubling fact that gonorrhea can rapidly develop resistance across the country, which has serious implications for treatment of this infection and control of our gonorrhea epidemic.

If gonorrhea goes untreated, it can lead to problems with pregnancy, infertility, and it can increase your chances of getting or giving HIV – the virus that causes AIDS.