Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

‘Pack those condoms’: Sex health docs warn rare STI could become ‘superbug’

The British Association of Sexual Health and HIV has published new treatment guidelines in an attempt to prevent the sexually transmitted infection mycoplasma genitalium, also known as MGen or MG, from developing into a superbug.

Paddy Horner, of the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV, said: 'MG has potential to become a superbug.

It can also be treated by an antibiotic called macrolides, but the guidelines warned that MG is becoming increasingly resistant to it.

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

In women, it can cause inflammation of the reproductive organs (womb and fallopian tubes) too, causing pain and possibly a fever and some bleeding.

Mycoplasma genitalium is a bacterium that can cause inflammation of the urethra in men, causing discharge from the penis and making it painful to urinate.

The news comes after health officials previous year 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.

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It was first identified in the United Kingdom in the 1980s and is thought to affect 1-2% of the general population. "So people need to take precautions".

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.

Peter Greenhouse, a sexual consultant in Bristol and BASHH member, advised that people be more cautious by using condoms.

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.

BASHH recommends that MG is treated with a seven-day course of the antibiotic, doxycycline, followed by a course of azithromycin.

"The new BASHH guideline on MG is a positive step forward to improving testing and diagnosis", said Helen Fifer, a consultant microbiologist at Public Health England.

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