STIs on the increase: Ellen Harwood investigates

Mycoplasma Gentialium (MG) is a small, sexually transmitted bacterium, found in cells of the urinary tract and genitals in humans, which is passed on through unprotected sex.

Recent studies by the NHS have shown that 1 in 100 people between the ages of 16-44 in the UK have MG.

MG was first detected as an STI in 1981 and has since become more prevalent as it is not routinely screened for in STI checks, accounting for its high incidences in the population.

Many people who contract MG are asymptomatic, but some men may experience watery discharge, and women may experience bleeding after sex and between periods.

It is the lack of symptoms of MG, or the confusion of its symptoms with other health issues that often lead to it being undiagnosed and individuals further spreading the STI.

More severe cases of MG can lead to infertility, premature births and prostate and ovarian cancers.

With the rapid increase in MG numbers, it is becoming increasingly difficult to treat via antibiotics, and in some instances has become antibiotic-resistant.

The U.S. centre for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended two very harsh antibiotic courses – doxycycline and azithromycin – to try and rid patients of the STI, however, resistance to azithromycin is increasing.

In Swedish patients, a cure rate of only 48 percent for women and 38 percent for men was seen with these two antibiotics.

To stop the spread of MG and decrease its prevalence in the population, people should turn to the most effective method of STI protection, the humble condom, and practice safe sex.


About Author

Ellen Harwood

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September 2021
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