New Treatment Recommendation For Gonococcal Infections

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BISMARCK, N.D. – In the U.S., sexually transmitted infections (STIs) caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae (gonococcal infections) have increased 63% since 2014 and are a cause of sequelae, including pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and infertility and can facilitate transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In North Dakota, from 2015 to 2019, there was a 120% increase in the number of reported gonorrhea infections. 

Effective treatment can prevent complications and transmission, but N. gonorrhoeae’s ability to change to resist antibiotics influences treatment recommendations and complicates control. In response, CDC now recommends a single 500 mg IM dose of ceftriaxone for treatment of uncomplicated urogenital, anorectal, and pharyngeal gonorrhea. If a chlamydial infection has not been excluded, concurrent treatment with doxycycline (100 mg orally twice a day for 7 days) is recommended.

“Effective treatment is an essential component of controlling and preventing gonorrhea infections,” said Sarah Weninger, STD Prevention Coordinator at the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH).  “With health care providers implementing this new treatment recommendation, we are addressing one goal of the recently released STI National Strategic Plan.  Providing treatment to those diagnosed with STIs and their partners, in addition to increasing awareness of STIs and sexual health are strategies that can prevent new STI infections.” 

January 1 through November 30, 2020, there was an almost 20% reduction in the number of gonorrhea tests performed at the NDDoH Division of Microbiology compared to the same time frame last year.  The NDDoH wants to remind sexually active individuals to consider an annual sexual health visit.  Women under 25 years of age are recommended to have annual chlamydia and gonorrhea testing.  Everyone between 13 and 64 should be tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime. 

For more information on the updated treatment recommendation, visit www.cdc.gov/STD.  For more information on STIs, visit www.ndhealth.gov/std or contact Sarah Weninger, NDDoH, at 701-328-2378.

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