Gonorrhea could be antibiotic resistant in the next decade

By Nikki Pederson for The Minnesota Daily

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calling it an “epidemic” and without the demand for pharmaceutical companies to produce new drugs, the U.S. could see antibiotic resistance to sexually transmitted diseases in the next five to 10 years — and young people on college campuses are especially prone.

Antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria to resist the effects of the drugs used to treat them. Meaning, the bacteria are no longer killed by a drug that used to kill them before, and the bacteria are then free to keep multiplying, according to recent reports released by the CDC.

“The gonorrhea organism is very adaptable and very smart,” said Candy Hadsall, a prevention nurse specialist at the Minnesota Department of Health. “So every time it [is introduced to] a new drug, it starts working to figure out how to get around it.” 

This has been the case throughout history, as gonorrhea has become resistant to medications like penicillin and other previous treatments.

There have not been any documented cases in the U.S. of antibiotic resistance to gonorrhea when the recommended treatment has been used. However, both the U.K. and Canada have seen cases of the infection that could not be treated with the commonly applied antibiotics. The CDC recommends a single shot of ceftriaxone and an oral dosage of azithromycin.