Gonorrhea, also known as the clap, is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Both men and women can get this STD and spread it to their sexual partners through vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse. The primary route of treatment of this, like other infections, is through the intake of antibiotics.
Treatment of gonorrhea
Adults with gonorrhea are treated with antibiotics. Back in time, penicillin shot was enough, but many strains of this bacterium are resistant to antibiotics, which is why at this point, there is only a handful of drugs that treat this STD. General guidelines state that uncomplicated gonorrhea should be treated with the antibiotic injection ceftriaxone with oral azithromycin (Zithromax). Men and women who are allergic to ceftriaxone receive injectable gentamicin or oral gemifloxacin along with azithromycin.
When left untreated, gonorrhea can become complicated and requires more intensive treatment. Disseminated gonococcal infection is treated in a hospital where antibiotics (ceftriaxone and cefotaxime) are delivered intravenously. The treatment duration is determined by the type of infection and severity of symptoms. Problems associated with disseminated gonococcal infection include the development of skin lesions and arthritis.
New antibiotic in development
As mentioned above, many strains of the gonorrhea-causing bacterium are resistant to antibiotics and, therefore, it is difficult to treat. If not cured, gonorrhea can cause serious complications, including infertility problems in men and women. Scientists work on trials that would pave the way to new antibiotics, and one of them showed promising results. A novel antibiotic called zoliflodacin cured most gonorrhea infections in a single dose in trials. Zoliflodacin works by inhibiting the bacterium’s DNA synthesis in a different manner compared to the current antibiotics. The new antibiotic was generally well-tolerated in trials with a mild upset stomach as the most common side effect. Larger, more definitive trials are next before the antibiotic is approved for the treatment of gonorrhea.
What about my partners, do they need treatment?
A common mistake that people repeat is that they don’t get tested regularly due to the absence of symptoms. A person can be infected even if there are no noticeable signs and symptoms of this STD. Infected men and women should notify their sexual partner (or more of them), so they can get tested and receive treatment if needed. This will prevent gonorrhea from spreading to other people, including you. It’s not uncommon for sexual partners to transmit some STD back and forth because one of them isn’t treated properly. Get tested for gonorrhea.
Gonorrhea is a treatable STD, but many strains are resistant to antibiotics. Doctors prescribe antibiotics that are effective for the treatment of gonorrhea, but other medications are also in development. Make sure to get tested whether in hospital and clinic or by purchasing convenient at-home gonorrhea testing kits that guarantee privacy. Remember, you will need to get tested about three months after the treatment to confirm there is no reinfection.