Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Doctors Raise Alarm Over Uncommon Sex Disease

Doctors Raise Alarm Over Uncommon Sex Disease

The news comes after health officials a year ago warned that millions of young people are shunning protection because risky sex has become acceptable once again, three decades after the Aids epidemic made condom use essential.

Experts say a lack of test kits means it is regularly confused with chlamydia and treated with incorrect doses of antibiotics - building up unsafe antibiotic resistance which could see it soon become untreatable.

The association has "launched new guidelines for the treatment and diagnosis of the disease, which recommend a specific diagnostic test: a nucleic acid amplification test", reports the The Daily Telegraph. It has been found in women with pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to infertility.

In men, it causes watery discharge from the penis and painful urination.

Schaffner noted that 30 years ago, there was no test for chlamydia and doctors did not treat the infection appropriately. It can cause sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in both men and women, Schaffner said.

Other symptoms for men and women include discharge and dysuria (painful or hard urination). The study and other experts, however, suggest a few concerns that the infection is reportedly developing resistance to this.

About 2% of the population have an STI called Mycoplasma genitalium. But this treatment approach is a problem, because antibiotics for chlamydia don't work well for M. genitalium, and their use can promote antibiotic resistance.

MG does not always cause symptoms and will not always need treatment, but it can be missed or mistaken for a different sexually transmitted infection, such as Chlamydia.


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.

Like any STI, the best way to prevent MG is by using condoms.

"So about a month into the relationship I developed the male symptoms - a sharp burning pain while urinating and a pus-like dishcharge from my urethra - but I had no idea what was wrong".

"We were put on antibiotics for two weeks but had no sexual contact for five, to make sure we were clean".

"The GUM clinic refused to retest my partner as she hasn't shown any symptoms".

BASHH recommends that MG is treated with a seven-day course of the antibiotic, doxycycline, followed by a course of azithromycin. "Macrolide resistance in the United Kingdom is estimated at around 40%".

A survey carried out by BASHH revealed that only one in 10 public health commissioners in England plan to provide testing for the infection within the next year.

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