Drug Resistant Gonorrhea: AHF Urges CDC to Revamp Failing Public Health Prevention Efforts

WASHINGTON (July 10, 2017) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) sounded the alarm today that public health institutions have lost control of the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

On July 7, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report that anti-biotic drug resistant gonorrhea is on the rise. 

According to the WHO, “Each year, an estimated 78 million people are infected with gonorrhoea*. Gonorrhoea can infect the genitals, rectum, and throat. Complications of gonorrhoea disproportionally affect women, including pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility, as well as an increased risk of HIV. Decreasing condom use, increased urbanization and travel, poor infection detection rates, and inadequate or failed treatment all contribute to this increase.”

“Over the past few years, public health experts here in the US have been undermining the promotion of condoms and the reduction of sexual partners as a tried and true prevention intervention for STDs and HIV, so this outcome—an out of control STD epidemic, with some, like gonorrhea, becoming resistant to our available treatments and antibiotics—should surprise no one,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “AHF calls on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to examine its current protocols and reevaluate and restructure its prevention strategies to better respond to this, and other emerging public health crises.”

 “This was also the first time that the G20 addressed health issues, something AHF was fighting for since 2012, and it looks like there is compromise by the 20 most powerful economies of the world to tackle drug-resistant infections,” said Dr. Jorge Saavedra, Global Ambassador for AHF and former head of CENSIDA in Mexico. “Among other measures, one simple measure to start tackling multi-resistant gonorrhea is to increase promotion of condom use, something that AHF has been continuously doing for many years, even when many were considering it not sexy anymore.”

“We can’t treat our way out the epidemic of HIV and exploding rates of STDs.  We need smart evidence-based prevention strategies.  While many factors are driving up the increases in STD infections, the promotion of PrEP—while de-emphasizing both condom use and reducing the numbers of sexual partners—has contributed to this unfortunate outcome,” added Weinstein.