'Stealth' STI Mycoplasma genitalium risks becoming a superbug

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

Thousands of women could become infertile every year thanks to an increasingly risky sexually-transmitted infection spread by people having unsafe sex on holiday.

In men, it causes watery discharge from the penis and painful urination.

"The greatest effect of this is for the women who present with pelvic inflammatory disease caused by MG, which would be very hard to treat, putting them at increased risk of infertility".

MG can cause the inflammation of reproductive organs for women, which could ultimately lead to infertility. "So people need to take precautions".

The BASHH says this is concerning.

Tests for MG have recently been developed but are not available in all clinics yet although doctors can send samples to Public Health England's laboratory to get a diagnostic result.

This common mistake has meant the bug has been quietly getting stronger and more prevalent - and because it has been treated with the wrong drugs is now very resistant to any antibiotic.

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The most recent figures from Public Health England show that diagnoses of syphilis are at their highest level for almost 70 years, with 7,137 cases in 2017, a 20 per cent rise on the previous year, and more than twice that recorded in 2012.

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

"It's about time the public learned about Mycoplasma genitalium", he said.

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

"It's yet another good reason to pack the condoms for the summer holidays - and actually use them".

"This is not curing the infection and is causing antimicrobial resistance in MG patients", Paddy Horner, a consultant senior lecturer in sexual health at Bristol University and one of the authors of the new guidelines, told the BBC.

"Everyone can protect themselves from STIs by consistently and correctly using condoms with new and casual partners".

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