Facts about sexually transmitted diseases
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Doctor Sarah Jarvis verified that the bacterium can self-replicate within the body; more frighteningly, for some people, there might be no signs of infection. With transmission occurring through genital-to-genital contact, or genital-to-rectum contact, all sexually active adults are theoretically at risk. If the STI is not diagnosed and treated, however, long-term health complications can occur.
These include pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), sexually associated reactive arthritis, miscarriages, stillbirth, and a painful swelling of the testes.
If Mgen becomes completely resistant to antibiotics, then up to 3,000 women who have the condition will be at risk of infertility each year.
Doctor Traci Johnson cautioned that “even if you don’t go all the way with vaginal sex, you can still get Mgen through sexual touching or rubbing”.
If symptoms appear in men, there might be watery discharge from the tip of the penis.
Moreover, there could be a burning or stinging sensation when urinating.
In women, for example, there could be pain felt during sex, bleeding after sex, bleeding between periods, and pain in the pelvic area, below the belly button.
Experts at Terrence Higgins Trust pointed out that Mgen is not routinely tested in sexual health clinics.
If symptoms are present, however, you are likely to have a genital swab or urine sample.
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“If a test shows you do have Mgen, then your current sexual partners should be tested too, even if they’re not showing symptoms,” the experts advised.
Treatment involves the use of antibiotics, but some strains have become resistant to commonly used antibiotics.
It’s for this reason why it can take several rounds of different drugs to clear the infection.
“You may still be able to pass it on for up to 14 days after completion of treatment so avoid unprotected sex,” the experts added.
Doctor Mary Lowth highlighted the prevalence of the infection, which affects up to two people in every 100, between the ages of 16 to 44.
Without treatment, it is “highly unlikely” the infection will clear on its own.
“These organisms are very hardy, can often infect us without causing any detectable illness,” said Doctor Lowth.
“[The bacterium] hides inside the cells of our bodies in order to avoid attack by our immune systems.”
Scientists are still learning about this STI; there is no way to determine how long a person has had the infection.
If treated, before complications arise, then there is “no reason” to think it will cause any long-term problems.
However, once complications have arisen, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, then there could be “irreversible tubal damage”.
As such, fertility would be negatively impacted. If you are concerned, speak to your nearest sexual health clinic.
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