‘Pack those condoms’: Sex health docs warn rare STI could become ‘superbug’

Leslie Hanson
July 11, 2018

Thousands of women could become infertile every year thanks to an increasingly risky sexually-transmitted infection spread by people having unsafe sex on holiday.

One in 100 British adults aged 16 to 44 are thought to be infected with Mycoplasma genitalium - or MG.

Only recently has it been recognised that MG is passed on by sexual activity and can cause problems such as genital pain and bleeding.

The British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) has released new guidelines on how to treat and diagnose the disease. "If practices do not change and the tests are not used, MG has the potential to become a superbug within a decade, resistant to standard antibiotics".

Like any STI, the best way to prevent MG is by using condoms.

It can be treated with antibiotics - but the infection is developing resistance to some of these drugs.

MG can cause the inflammation of reproductive organs for women, which could ultimately lead to infertility.


The news comes after health officials past year warned that millions of young people are shunning protection because risky sex has become acceptable once again, three decades after the Aids epidemic made condom use essential.

MG does not always cause symptoms and will not always need treatment, but it can be missed or mistaken for a different sexually transmitted infection, such as Chlamydia.

Paddy Horner, who co-wrote the guidelines, said: "These new guidelines have been developed, because we can't afford to continue with the approach we have followed for the past 15 years as this will undoubtedly lead to a public health emergency with the emergence of MG as a superbug".

"The new BASHH guideline on MG is a positive step forward to improving testing and diagnosis", said Helen Fifer, a consultant microbiologist at Public Health England.

Almost half of 16 to 24-year-olds admit they have had sex with a new partner without using a condom, a Public Health England report said in December.

"Everyone can protect themselves from STIs by consistently and correctly using condoms with new and casual partners".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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