Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

STD You May Not Have Heard of Could Be Next Superbug

STD You May Not Have Heard of Could Be Next Superbug

It can cause sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in both men and women, Schaffner said.

Experts say a lack of test kits means it is regularly confused with chlamydia and treated with incorrect doses of antibiotics - building up risky antibiotic resistance which could see it soon become untreatable. For them, untreated MG can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which can in turn make it hard to get pregnant. It is best treated by a course of the antibiotic doxycycline, followed by a course of azithromycin. However - here's the problem - doctors are finding that these antibiotics are failing to treat the illness more and more due to rising antibiotic resistance.

A little-known sexually transmitted disease carries the potential to become the next superbug.

"Potentially up to 3,000 women a year over the next ten years could become infertile because of MG leading to pelvic inflammatory disease", said Dr Olwen Williams, president of the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH).

The British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) has issued NICE-approved draft guidelines for the treatment and diagnosis of MG. It can also develop a resistance to antibiotics if not treated correctly on time.

About 2% of the population have an STI called Mycoplasma genitalium.

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MG most commonly affects younger people who are also more sexually active, as well as people with more sexual partners, so safe sex is an important part of preventing this STD.

Tests for MG have recently been developed but are not available in all clinics yet although doctors can send samples to Public Health England's laboratory to get a diagnostic result. "We both sensibly got tested and declared clean at the start of the relationship but GUM [genitourinary medicine] clinics don't test for MG, unless you have symptoms". It's is passed on by sexual contact but, like all STDs, can easily be prevented by using a condom.

Dr Peter Greenhouse, a sexual consultant in Bristol and BASHH member, told the BBC, "it's yet another good reason to pack the condoms for the summer holidays - and actually use them".

Almost half of 16 to 24-year-olds admit they have had sex with a new partner without using a condom, a Public Health England report said in December.

The guidelines note people can be tested for MG through a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), but a BASHH survey of 125 out of 152 public health commissioners in England found only one in 10 plan to fund the testing for MG in the next financial year.

Horner argued that these resources are "urgently" needed to ensure there is testing available for women who are at high risk of infertility.

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