Experts are warning that a new sexually transmitted disease, mycoplasma genitalium, MG, can become the next superbug because it can sometimes be symptomless. Most of the time this disease is mistaken for chlamydia or gonorrhea, which is why it is often mistreated. This disease, like all STD’s, is spread through unprotected sex. For better sexual health, it is important to learn about this STD, and understand how to prevent contraction.
The bacterium MG, was first discovered in 1981 according the the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH). The Association found that if it goes untreated for too long, it can develop a resistance to antibiotics. A consultant in sexual health and HIV, and the clinical lead at the Liverpool Center for Sexual Health, Dr. Mark Lawton told CNN “We are already seeing resistance to Mycoplasma genitalium because we are using antibiotics that treat chlamydia very well but don’t treat mycoplasma very well.”
One to two percent of the population carry MG, between women and men. For men, the bacteria can cause inflammation of the urethra, PID. This will lead to pain while urinating, and/or watery discharge from the penis. For women, the bacteria causes inflammation in the cervix. This can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, pain during sex and the pelvic area, and bleeding after sex. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, and the BASHH, if it is left untreated then up to 3,000 women a year who get pelvic inflammatory disease caused by MG, will have a higher risk of infertility.
BASHH spokesperson Paddy Horner said: “MG is treated with antibiotics, but as until recently there has been no commercially available test, it has often been misdiagnosed as chlamydia and treated as such.
“This is not curing the infection and is causing antimicrobial resistance in MG patients. If practices do not change and the tests are not used, MG has the potential to become a superbug within a decade, resistant to standard antibiotics.”
Testing and treating M. genitalium is still going to take some time to get it down packed. Europe is using multiple tests that are not FDA approved, so they can not be used in the U.S. Because the bacteria’s symptoms closely relates to those of chlamydia, people get treated for chlamydia. However, these antibiotics do not work well against M. genitalium, and can actually promote resistance against antibiotics. There still needs to be more research done to provide a simple and inexpensive test in the U.S. But there are hopes research will find some soon. In the meantime, it is always important to have safe and protected sex in order to reduce your chances of any diseases.