The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Tuesday that the growing resistance to antibiotics has complicated the current efforts in treating sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and syphilis.
Around the world, there are more than one million people who contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or infection (STI) every day. “Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and syphilis are major public health problems worldwide, affecting millions of peoples’ quality of life, causing serious illness and sometimes death,” said Ian Askew, head of WHO’s reproductive health and research division.
The organization estimates that every year, 131 million people are infected with chlamydia worldwide, 78 million with gonorrhoea, and 5.6 million with syphilis. On the other hand, one million people contract an STI every day.
The three diseases caused by bacteria have been fairly easy to treat using antibiotics. However, the drugs have been increasingly failing recently. “Resistance of these STIs to the effect of antibiotics has increased rapidly in recent years and has reduced treatment options.”
Such resistance is caused by a number of things, such as doctors overprescribing antibiotics or patients not taking the correct doses.
When left undiagnosed or untreated, the aforementioned diseases can result to more complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease and ectopic pregnancy, and also an increase in the chances of miscarriage, stillbirth, and newborn death.
With this, the WHO presented new guidelines that aims to ensure that doctors would prescribe the best antibiotics and the right doses for the treatment of each disease.
Askew also said that to reduce the spread of the disease, national health services will need to monitor the patterns of antibiotic resistance in their respective countries.
For gonorrhoea, WHO recommends that health authorities study local resistance patterns and for doctors to prescribe the most effective antibiotic with least resistance.
For syphilis, the organization recommends benzathine penicillin that is injected into the buttock or thigh muscle.
The WHO also emphasized that condom use is the most effective way to protect one’s self against STD infection. ASCS