AFTER the World Health Organization (WHO) announced last July 7, that an antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea is infecting people in other countries recently, health officials in Davao City are urging people who are diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) to go to health centers and hospitals to have themselves examined and reassessed.
Dr. Teodora Wi, WHO human reproduction medical officer, said: "The bacteria that cause gonorrhea are particularly smart. Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them."
Gonorrhea is a form of STD that spreads through sexual contact with an infected person. It can infect the genitals, rectum, and throat, the WHO reported, adding that "complications of gonorrhea disproportionally affect women, including pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and infertility, as well as an increased risk of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)."
Davao City Health Office (CHO) head Doctor Josephine Villafuerte, in an interview with SunStar Davao, said although no cases yet are recorded inside the country, local government units have to assess those who have a history of acquired STDs in order to counter the possible presence of the infection.
Villafuerte said barangay health centers and the Southern Philippines Medical Center were mandated by CHO to strengthen its reproductive and health facilities to assure that there will be no cases of untreated gonorrhea in the city.
She said the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao Region is currently doing researches whether the strain of the infection should be treated in the usual manner or should it need new medicines to be cured.
WHO estimated that each year, 78 million people all around are infected with gonorrhea.
"Decreasing condom use, increased urbanization and travel, poor infection detection rates, and inadequate or failed treatment all contribute to the increase of gonorrhea cases," WHO said.
In Davao City, Villafuerte said it is a common infection, thus, the local government urged everyone to become proactive in assessing one's reproductive health status.
"This year, we have 30 new STD patients every month," Villafuerte said.
Most people who have STDs, she said, refuse to see a health specialist because they are ashamed of it and would rather self-medicate, buying low-quality antibiotics that do not cure the infection.
Villafuerte said DOH and other related agencies are still examining the case of new gonorrhea strain to create the proper treatment once it reaches the country.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on July 16, 2017.
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