If getting a one-night stand knocked up isn’t enough to deter you from wearing protection then news of a little known and fast spreading STI that’s on the loose should be enough to have you reaching for a Johnny quick smart.
Discovered by doctors in the United Kingdom this new infection goes by the name of Mycoplasma genitalium, a bacterial infection known as MGen for short, is well on its way to becoming an untreatable superbug.
While most people aren’t familiar with MGen, the bacterium has actually been around for decades, first discovered in 1981. It lives in our urinary and genital tracts and is transmitted through sexual intercourse and affects both men and women.
In men, the infection can cause inflammation of the urethra and lead to symptoms including burning pain while urinating – similar to chlamydia – or a discharge from the penis.
In women the symptoms are much worse, with the bacteria linked to inflammation of the cervix, bleeding after sex and pain while urinating. If left untreated the infection can lead to a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease that’s known to cause pain in the lower abdomen, and in some cases, infertility.
Like many other sexually transmitted diseases, people who are infected with MGen often have no symptoms at all, with the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) estimating about two per cent of the general population have the infection, which is an insane amount of people when you think about it.
The main issue surrounding the treatment of M. genitalium is its resemblance to the more common STI Chlamydia. There’s no test available for doctors to identify if a patient has the infection, meaning many people are often mistakenly diagnosed with Chlamydia and given antibiotics to treat that STI, causing MGen to build up a resistance to antibiotics.
The lack of an FDA approved test means many experts believe MGen could become an untreatable superbug within the next five years. The BASHH have even gone as far as to estimate almost 4,800 women a year could be left infertile by the infection if a cure isn’t found.
Once a test is found for MGen, then effective treatment will follow and the risk of a lifelong infection diminishes. Although the infection isn’t widely seen here in Australia just yet, I suggest keeping your old man wrapped up just in case.