Photo: Karin Malmhav / SvD / Scanpix

Gonorrhea hike brings fear of drug resistance

The sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea is on the rise in Sweden with a reported 50 percent jump in cases in one year. Of equal concern is that drug resistant gonorrhea can be difficult to treat or be incurable.

"What we can see from our research is that gonorrhea has increasing by almost 50 percent in the first of half of 2012 compared to the same period last year," says Inga Velicko is an epidemiologist at the Communicable Disease Control Institute

"The age group affected most are people in their mid-to-late 20s and it is both men and women," she says.

Of the reported 599 infections, 170 sufferers are women. Inga Velicko believes the rise can in part be attributed to youngsters not using condoms because HIV it is no longer considered a death sentence as medecine can keep AIDS at bay.

Over half of the men who contracted gonorrhea caught it abroad. Inga Velicko is worried that there are strains of the bacteria which are resistant to drugs.

"It may be that we do not have antibiotics to cure it," she says. "We already have some singular resistance here but if we get multi-resistance bacteria then there is no treatment."

Chlamydia is still the sexually transmitted disease that affects the most patients - during the first half of 2012, there were just under 18,000 cases, an increase of 4.5 percent. More than half of those infected were women.

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