By David Odongo
Can you believe every year, an estimated 106 million people are infected with gonorrhoea globally– a sexually transmitted infection?
Research from several countries including Australia, France, Japan, Norway, and Sweden, UK report cases of resistance to the last treatment option against gonorrhoea.
The shocking revelation comes as the World Health Organisation calls for more research into new treatment regimens for gonorrhoea infections.
"Like most STDs, gonorrhea is underdiagnosed and underreported, and we estimate that about twice that number of people were affected Gonorrhea makes up 25% of the 4 major curable sexually-transmitted infection," WHO warns.
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A WHO report titled “Global action: Plan to control the spread of untreatable gonorrhoea”, reveals that Gonorrhoea is a major public health challenge today, due to the high incidence of infections accompanied by a dwindling of treatment options.
The report was co authored by Kenyan Christine Awuor from National AIDS and STI Control Programme in Nairobi.
A common bacterial infection, gonorrhoea is painful and can cause infertility in both men and women. It is also the second most common and the fastest spreading STI worldwide.
Medic Maggie Awuor says doing a gonorrhoea test can be possible four to five days after having sex although it is wise to g for tests even if a person has no symptoms but doubts he or she could be infected.
“Once you have had sex and you suspect you have the infection, don’t have any more sex until the window period is over and you are tested.” warns Awuor. She adds that before the tests, men are advised not to urinate for one or two hours and thereafter, a sample of their urine will be collected for testing.
“For women, it’s a bit different, a doctor will use a swab to collect cells from the cervix or the vagina and this will be used to test for infection.”
On treatment, she says treatment can start as soon as you have been tested and it is usually a single dose of anti biotic tablets or a single injection.
“Its very simple to test and treat but the problem is most people are either too scared or just don’t know they have the infection” says the medic.
Left untreated, gonorrhoea can cause health complications years later. In men, it will cause infertility and acute pain in the testicles and prostate glands. In women, it can lead to blocked fallopian tubes, ectopic pregnancy or infertility.
“After treatment, don’t run and have sex, wait until you are very sure the infection is gone, It take five to seven days for the medicine to clear the infection, so its advisable to wait for at least one week” warns Awuor. She adds that in case a woman is pregnant, the infection can still be treated as the drugs pose no harm to the unborn baby.