Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are sounding the alarm about antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea, which threatens to pose a “major public health challenge” in the coming years. Over the last three decades, this common sexually transmitted infection has increasingly failed to respond to the drugs used to treat it—which means the thousands of Americans infected with gonorrhea every year are running out of options.
Gonorrhea is one of the most common STDs in the United States, with about 820,000 cases diagnosed each year. But this disease is “remarkably adept” at adapting to antibiotics, according to federal health officials. During the 1990s and early 2000s, gonorrhea developed resistance to several common drugs that used to be able to treat it. Unsurprisingly, drug resistance allows the disease to spread faster.
The good news: condoms provide highly effective protection against gonorrhea and other STIs "transmitted only by genital fluids" (chlamydia, trichomoniasis, HIV).