Experts Say Gonorrhea May Soon Be Untreatable

Photographed by Jessica Nash.
Gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease, may soon be untreatable, according to England's chief medical officer.

Dame Sally Davies sent a warning to all pharmacies and doctors in the United Kingdom to ensure that they are prescribing the correct medication to treat gonorrhea. If the right medicine isn't prescribed, Davies fears that gonorrhea will evolve to the point that it is no longer treatable.
The warning comes amid an outbreak of a highly resistant strain of gonorrhea in September 2015.

“Gonorrhea has rapidly acquired resistance to new antibiotics, leaving few alternatives to the current recommendations. It is therefore extremely important that suboptimal treatment does not occur,” Davies wrote in her letter.
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Some doctors have been prescribing an obsolete antibiotic that's been proven ineffective in killing the bacteria that causes gonorrhea. In 2011, one in five gonorrhea cases were treated with this particular antibiotic. Davies recommends treating gonorrhea with a combination of an injection and an oral dose of azithromycin or doxycycline.
In the United States, an estimated 820,000 people contract gonorrhea every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The numbers continue to increase as better medications become available to treat incurable diseases, like HIV.

In a November 2015 report, the CDC said that having open communication about sex will decrease the percentage of Americans contracting STDs. "The first hurdle will be to confront the reluctance of American society to openly confront issues surrounding sexuality and STDs," the report stated.

Having protected sex is also vital for preventing the transmission of STDs.
If doctors prescribe the correct medication, Davies predicts gonorrhea won't be able to evolve and will remain treatable.
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