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Rising rates of antibiotic resistance in general have been discussed extensively. What has not been addressed as specifically is the growing number of cases of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted diseases. Data that show condom use is declining makes this trend even more alarming, the World Health Organization warns. Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacteria that causes the STD, in particular, has become prone to developing resistance to the drugs used to treat it, according to the WHO. “Widespread” resistance to older, relatively inexpensive antibiotics is resulting in cases that are untreatable. Alarmingly, patients as young as 15 who have engaged in oral sex are among those likely to be affected. When antibiotics are used to treat infections of the throat (eg, a “normal” sore throat), they can become mixed with the Neisseria species in the throat, ultimately leading to resistance; many with gonorrhea in the throat may not even know they’re infected, making it more likely that they will infect others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that any sexually active person can get infected with gonorrhea through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Use of condoms is still recommended as a preventive measure. The WHO says 66% of the 77 countries with available data for 2009–2014 reported decreased sensitivity to extended-spectrum cephalosporins.

Drug-Resistance Growing in STDs