Prevention is better than the cure, similarly, early intervention is always better than delayed treatment. Screening can be done for many deadly infections and early stages of cancer. Timely detection can be crucial for effective management.
Every few years, new infectious diseases emerge and STDs can have bothersome symptoms and also be deadly. Below are four newly emerging STDs that should not be ignored.
1. Neisseria meningitidis
As the name suggests, N. meningitidis can affect the meninges in the brain. It is a deadly infection that could have a serious impact if the infection spreads to the brain and the protective layers of the spinal cord.
A remarkable study in 1970 showed the self-inflicted oral-genital spread of N.meningitis in male chimpanzees. Male chimpanzees frequently indulge in self oral-genital fellatio. This can result in the transfer of infections from the upper respiratory tract to the genitals and vice versa. A male chimpanzee was shown to have transferred the infection from the nose and throat to their own urethra. In more than 10 percent of adults, N. meningitis can be found in the upper respiratory tract.
According to research, N. meningitidis is transmissible between sexual partners via kissing, oral sex, and sexual intercourse. There have been multiple reports of invasive N. meningitidis outbreak among gay and bisexual men in America, Canada, and European countries, however, the exact route of the transmission behind the outbreak is not well understood.
In another study, researchers examined the potential route of transmission in a group of men with N.meningitidis infection in their urethra. The study reported oral sex to be the most probable route of transmission among these men.
In 2015, an outbreak of N. meningitis occurred in many cities in the USA. According to scientists, the particular strain causing the outbreak was a new strain that had recombinant DNA with N. gonorrhea. The easy outbreak was mostly due to this recombination allowing a more efficient spread of the STI.
Fortunately, Two vaccines are available which provides some degree of protection against the five different strains of N.meningitidis.
2. Mycoplasma genitalium
Almost 1 percent of the world has been afflicted with this bacterium, Mycoplasma Genitalium since it was first discovered around the 1980s. This disease is particularly common in teenagers and younger adults.
In most patients, the bacteria do not cause any significant symptoms. However, in some cases, it can result in irritation of the reproductive parts including cervix and urethra. Due to its presentation, it can often be confused with gonorrhea and chlamydia which are also STDs.
Despite being asymptomatic, infection with M. Genitalium should not be taken for granted. It can result in more serious severe conditions such as widespread infection in the reproductive system known as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. PID can result in infertility, miscarriages, preterm labor, and stillbirths.
Like all STDs, M. Genitalium can be prevented by using Condoms. However, an alarming study shows increasing resistance of the bacteria to previously potent antibiotics such as azithromycin and doxycycline.
Growing resistance to the bacteria can result in increased proliferation of the bacteria. Although the methods of diagnosing M. Genitalium are relatively simple, with easily available urine and vaginal swab tests, it is still not a part of regular recommended screening tests.
3. Shigella flexneri
Transmitted through the oral-fecal route, Shigellosis results in dysentery due to contact with human feces by direct or indirect transmission. Along with stomach cramps and abdominal discomfort, this infection can result in severe blood-filled or mucus containing watery diarrhea. The diarrheal bouts can increase rates of bacterial transmission.
Shigellosis is found more commonly in travelers and children in underdeveloped countries with low income. However, Shigellosis is found to be increasing in frequency in homosexuals and bisexual men since the seventies. A newer route of transmission, the anal-oral route by fellatio has increased outbreaks of Shigellosis for decades.
In addition to the easy outbreak, Shigellosis is reportedly growing resistance to widely prescribed antibiotics such as Azithromycin. With fears of a future where antibiotics are ineffective against S.flexneri scientists recommend refraining from prescribing antibiotics in asymptomatic patients. Without antibiotics, milder forms of the disease are usually limited in its course.
4. Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)
Lymphogranuloma Venereum(LGV) is an STI caused by Chlamydia Trachomatis. It can result in an uncomfortable condition characterized by blisters or ulcers in the genital region. It can also cause lymphadenopathy due to an invasion of the lymphatic system. It can also result in severe lower gastrointestinal abnormalities, leading to fistulas or strictures in the anorectal region.
Due to its ability to transmit via anal and oral routes, the rates of LGV have become significantly higher in homosexual and bisexual men. Although using protective agents such as condoms can significantly reduce the risks of acquiring the infection, unsafe sexual practices can lead to infection.
Complete resolution of the infection requires a minimum three-week course of therapy.