There’s a stealthy, increasingly common, and aggressively-resilient sexually transmitted disease (STD) that's lurking around, yet there's a strong chance you have never heard its name.
It’s called Mycoplasma genitalium (MG), a bacterial infection that some experts compare to chlamydia. Now for the especially bad news: It’s become increasingly resistant to a number of antibiotics and increasingly common.
Worse still, it’s often asymptomatic, meaning you might not even know if you’re infected. That said, women will sometimes experience symptoms such as discomfort while peeing, abnormal discharge, and unexpected bleeding between periods. Men can also suffer from a burning sensation when peeing and a watery discharge from the tip of the penis.
However, even if you don’t experience these unpleasant symptoms, the infection could trigger complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.
A 2015 study found that 1.2 percent of UK adults under the age of 44 were infected with MG, although the majority showed no symptoms. According to SBS News, a recent study has estimated that as many as 400,000 Australians, around 2 percent of the population, are infected with MG. Sexually active young adults with multiple sexual partners are at most risk of catching it.
Scientists first identified MG back in 1981, however, until recently, it’s never had the same attention as other STD pals like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.
Fortunately, there’s a new Australian-made test that can easily check for the infection, as reported in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. Five Australian clinics and a select-few UK clinics are now trialling the test, according to 9 News Australia. It’s thought the test will eventually become part of routine sexual health screenings in the future.
“We are no longer guessing in the dark,” Dr Alexandra Marceglia, unit head of the Sexual Health and Rapid Access Service at Melbourne’s Royal Women’s Hospital, told 9News. “We can treat patients immediately with the antibiotic we know will work.”
Just to top off all this rather unpleasant news, antibiotic-resistant super-gonorrhea is on the rise, according to two new studies from the World Health Organization.
Of course, all STDs can be prevented by using condoms during sexual contact until you and your partner have tested negative. Stay safe out there.