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Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia, & Syphilis Are Becoming Antibiotic-Resistant

Photo: Getty Images.
From the spread of superbugs to the development of antibiotic-resistant acne, antibiotic resistance seems to be affecting every area of our lives. This week, a new report from the World Health Organization shed light on another frightening issue: antibiotic-resistant strains of STIs.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention in the US declared antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea to be a problem earlier this summer. Now, the WHO is adding chlamydia and syphilis to the list. Gonorrhea has developed the strongest resistance, but all three STIs are becoming resistant to the antibiotics typically used to treat them.

This means that the treating STIs may become more difficult than it was before — and that could have troubling consequences, especially for women.

"When left undiagnosed and untreated, these STIs can result in serious complications and long-term health problems for women, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and miscarriage, and untreated gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause infertility in both men and women," the report reads. Untreated gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis can also leave people more susceptible to HIV.

The WHO is calling on countries to update their guidelines and treat these STIs with the remaining antibiotics that still work on them. The report also reminds us that condoms are very effective in STI prevention.