Superbug — the term is scary for a reason! In fact, there’s a “superbug” strain of gonorrhea discovered in Japan that is immune to known forms of treatment for the sexually transmitted disease. This new superbug, dubbed H041, has actually evolved to a point where previous forms of antibiotics have no effect on it whatsoever. Each generation of gonorrhea gets gradually stronger and develops a resistance to antibiotics. Since this latest strain is immune to all previous forms, it gets labeled a superbug, and if an antibiotic that can treat it cannot be found, it may pose a serious health threat.
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gonorrhea is “caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, a bacterium that can grow and multiply easily in the warm, moist areas of the reproductive tract, including the cervix (opening to the womb), uterus (womb), and fallopian tubes (egg canals) in women, and in the urethra (urine canal) in women and men. The bacterium can also grow in the mouth, throat, eyes and anus.” In short, anyone who is sexually active is at risk for contracting this STD; those who have the highest risk are sexually active teenagers, young adults and African Americans, who have the highest reports of gonorrhea in the United States.
Since there is no cure immediately available, should the superbug make its way to America, your best bet is to practice safe sex. This might mean asking a partner about his sexual background, even if you think you know him very well. In fact, friends with benefits might inadvertently steer you wrong since you are less likely to be vigilant about wearing a condom with a friend or asking if a friend has been tested, leading to the potential spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Regular checkups are also another smart way to avoid trouble with STDs. If you are unsure where there is a health center in your area, this webpage will help you find one.