Engage in risky sexual behavior at your own risk. If there is anything that the resistance to antibiotics point to, it is the fact that Kenya and other developing countries are headed for a crisis in managing sexually transmitted diseases that are not becoming resistant to drugs.
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Treatment options for gonorrhea are dwindling fast. Resistance to antibiotics has resulted in the development of strains of multi-drug resistant gonorrhea that are not responding to antibiotics.
So far three people in France, Japan and Spain are infected with the un-treatable strain according to WHO.
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease and there are concerns that the un-treatable strain will spread further.
Dr Teodora Wi, Medical Officer, Human Reproduction, at WHO says,
‘’The bacteria that cause gonorrhoea are particularly smart. Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them.”
Resistance to antibiotics is not a new phenomenon in the world.
However for developing countries like Kenya, it pauses serious challenges especially because the country does not have affordable effective alternatives.
Kenya’s predicament is not surprising given the accessibility of antibiotics such as tetracycline, penicillins, and chloramphenicol.
In 2012, WHO sounded the alarm warning that
‘’Like most STDs, gonorrhea is under diagnosed and under-reported, and we estimate that about twice that number of people were affected.”
The complications that arise as a result of untreated gonorrhea are wide ranging. In men, untreated gonorrhea can cause acute pain in their testicles and prostrate glands. It can also cause infertility.
In women, gonorrhea can lead to blocked fallopian tubes, ectopic pregnancies as well as infertility.
WHO warns that there are ”no affordable, rapid, point-of-care diagnostic tests for gonorrhoea. Many people who are infected with gonorrhoea do not have any symptoms, so they go undiagnosed and untreated”
Therein lies the challenge that most African countries must conquer to curb the menace. While developing new antibiotics has been fronted as a way of countering drug-resistance, economic dynamics are playing against the proposal.
WHO notes, ”The development of new antibiotics is not very attractive for commercial pharmaceutical companies. Treatments are taken only for short periods of time (unlike medicines for chronic diseases) and they become less effective as resistance develops”
Pharmaceutical companies, simply put, want to put their money in drugs for chronic diseases especially those that do not need constant replenishing.