We already know that the rates of HPV among sexually active adults is pretty high and that a new untreatable supergonorrhea is on the rise, but in addition to that, the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV has given us another STI to worry about: mycoplasma genitalium.
Although the MG bacterium was first isolated in 1981, according to the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV, it could be the next superbug — especially since little is known about the condition. The organization recently released their draft guidelines on MG, which they hope will raise awareness of the STI and it’s effects.
What is it?
MG is a sexually transmitted bacterium that can cause inflammation of the urethra of a penis, resulting in discharge, according to the association. If someone with a vagina contracts it, it can cause inflammation of the uterus and fallopian tubes as well as pain, fever and bleeding. Additionally, it may cause infertility in people with a uterus.
The symptoms of MG are painful urination and discharge from the penis and bleeding after sex for people with a vagina, but what makes this STI especially tricky is that the majority of cases don’t have any symptoms at all. And in cases when there are symptoms, MG can be misdiagnosed as another STI, like chlamydia. It can also exist alongside other STIs, so even if someone is being treated for one, it doesn’t mean they don’t have MG.
Like many STIs, using a condom can help prevent the spread of MG.
The treatment for MG is typically antibiotics — although, like some strains of gonorrhea, sometimes it’s antibiotic-resistant. According to the British association, it is getting harder to get rid of MG using antibiotics; they’re only effective in about 40 percent of the cases of the STI in the U.K.
“These new guidelines have been developed because we can’t afford to continue with the approach we have followed for the past 15 years, as this will undoubtedly lead to a public health emergency with the emergence of MG as a superbug,” Dr. Paddy Horner, one of the coauthors of the guidelines, told the BBC.
According to Horner, “resources are urgently needed to ensure that diagnostic and antimicrobial resistance testing is available for women with the condition who are at high risk of infertility.”
Just in case you were looking for another reason to pack the condoms on your summer trip, you now have one.