A new strain of untreatable gonorrhoea is in danger of being widespread among gay men.
The sexually transmitted disease can infect the genitals, rectum and throat, but it is the last that is most concerning health officials. Shockingly, it currently infects around 78 million people around the world every year.
Symptoms can include a thick green or yellow discharge from the penis and sharp pain when urinating.
However, while it’s completely curable, treatment with antibiotics is leading to the bacteria developing resistance in the back of the throat.
Dr Teodora Wi, from the WHO, said: “When you use antibiotics to treat infections like a normal sore throat, this mixes with the Neisseria species in your throat and this results in resistance.”
When men have oral sex, this can re-introduce the bacteria back into the throat, and that can then lead to “super gonorrhoea,” which is currently entirely untreatable and resistant to all-forms of drugs. The concern comes after three confirmed cases in which antibiotics were completely ineffective.
“In the US, resistance [to an antibiotic] came from men having sex with men because of pharyngeal infection,” she explained.
“We are now at a point where we are using the drugs of last resort, but there are worrying signs as treatment failure due to resistant strains has been documented.”
“The situation is fairly grim,” she added.