According to recent reports by the World Health Organization (WHO), gonorrhea has become hard to detect and even harder to treat. A combination of factors has led to our current predicament, as 70% of gonorrhea cases are found in people under the age of 25. Let’s take a deeper look into why this infection is affecting so many young people today.
1) Absence of symptoms
Usually, the onset of gonorrhea is indicated by an unusual discharge from one’s genitals, accompanied by a burning sensation when peeing. While symptoms of the STD normally manifest a few days after infection, there are cases where signs have taken up to a month to surface. In fact, there have been extreme scenarios where the infected individual experienced no symptoms whatsoever until the bacteria caused other visible bodily complications.
Stats show that about 15% of infections in men go unnoticed, while the majority of infected women – about 80% to be exact – show no signs at all, ever. This may help us understand why gonorrhea is so hard to detect and so easy to spread amongst women.
2) The Stigma
The other reason why gonorrhea is so hard to detect is that people don’t really want to get tested in the first place. Many opt to suffer in silence and endure the pains of gonorrhea, trivializing it to having a “bad period” or some other, less embarrassing infection. They tend to attribute the symptoms to other STDs, as they seek to avoid raising any eyebrows by visiting a reproductive health center. This suffocating stigma by which our society judges many such diseases has, as a result, led to many shying away from getting the help they need. Most young people elect to take the pray-and-hope-it-disappears route.
Why is Gonorrhea becoming impossible to treat?
The bacteria triggering the STD have an uncanny ability to learn, adapt, and take on anything thrown at them. When one class of antibiotics suppresses the organisms, they develop a resistance and evolve to become less vulnerable to the same kind of medicine. Over the last few years, older drug varieties have been rendered useless, landing more and more pharmaceuticals on the losing side of this STD war.
To paint an accurate picture of how dire the situation is, here is a breakdown of some of the data WHO collected from more than 70 countries during a recent study:
There are more than 800,000 reported cases of infections annually around the world with that figure adding up to approximately 78 million globally.
In some of the 77 countries that participated in the study, gonorrhea was classified, in their own words, as “impossible to treat” especially with older drug varieties.
Here’s why pharmaceutical companies are not too keen on developing new antibiotics…
Another factor contributing to the disease’s growing resistance is the fact that commercial pharmaceuticals have defied calls by WHO to develop new antibiotics to combat the ever-changing nature of STDs. Many of these companies are put off by the huge losses they would incur by developing new products to replace a massively circulated existing stock. Fewer young people are getting tested, as the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and infections tends to grow.
We are hence stuck at the moment, which won’t be helpful to anyone that’s sexually active in the near future.
A Parting Shot
Gonorrhea is really hard to notice until the bacteria have inflicted considerable damage on other organs and this particularly applies to women. According to homestdtesttalk.com,untreated gonorrhea can cause infertility in both men and women. It also can cause babies to be born blind. Consequently, it is prudent to get tested regularly – once in three months is ideal – so as to ensure you don’t find out you have the disease when it has already reached a critical stage.
Blogger and part-time assistant at a tech company. I enjoy writing on topics in mental & sexual health and politics.