Why simple STIs may soon lack drugs

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are becoming increasingly difficult to treat because of resistance to antibiotics, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.

Most STIs are caused by bacteria transmitted through either sexual intercourse or fluid contact with an infected person.

But the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that soon, some common STIs will no longer be treatable with the current antibiotics.

“Rapidly increasing antimicrobial resistance to gonorrhoea treatments is also a growing health threat, and may lead eventually to the disease being impossible to treat,” said WHO in a statement.

The global health body has also noted that a worldwide shortage of a penicillin-derived antibiotic has also contributed to the surge in STIs.

In its latest update, WHO estimates at least one million new cases of STIs occur everyday among persons aged 15-49. This translates to more than 376 million new cases annually.

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WHO has recommended that all pregnant women be screened for syphilis as well as HIV.

“Some (STIs) including chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and syphilis—can also be transmitted during pregnancy and childbirth, or, in the case of syphilis, through contact with infected blood or blood products, and injecting drug use,” states WHO.

Of the STIs, syphilis has been mentioned as the most prevalent, largely due to a shortage of an antibiotic to treat it.

“All bacterial STIs can be treated and cured with widely available medications. However, recent shortages in the global supply of Benzathine penicillin has made it more difficult to treat syphilis,” stated WHO.

The effect of this surge in STIs is already being felt in the country with a recent revelation by gynaecologists that they are partly to blame for rising cases of infertility.

According to Kireki Omanwa, a fertility expert, the current trend where some people have multiple sexual partners risks deepening the health crisis.

Dr Omanwa, Kenya Obstetrics and Gynaecologists Society secretary general, said at least one in every three consultations done by gynaecologists is a fertility case.

“Most of these cases are a result of blocked tubes (fallopian and urethra) which are a consequence of STDs,” said Omanwa.

The WHO noted that apart from infertility, STIs if left untreated, can lead to neurological and cardiovascular disease, ectopic pregnancy, still births and increased risk of HIV.

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STIsSexually Transmitted InfectionsWorld Health OrganisationWHO