Almost every country in the world battles with the existence of sexually transmitted infections and Jamaica is not immune to same.
Researchers at the University of the West Indies (UWI) are becoming concerned about the rate at which Jamaica is seeing some sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which are becoming resistant to antibiotic treatment.
These researchers are embarking on a study to test the effectiveness of the medication used to treat the STI gonorrhoea across the island.
“We are about to embark on a study where we go down to the clinics where they see those patients and collect swabs on all the patients,” said Dr Alison Nicholson, head of the Department of Microbiology at the University of the West Indies.
“It is not just a matter of treating them, we want the samples so we can grow the thing for ourselves and test it against the drugs.
“We have actually written up the proposal and are in the process of getting ethics approval to conduct the study. Only then we will know what is happening in our local population,” added Nicholson.
Nicholson stated that while persons diagnosed with gonorrhoea in Jamaica are usually treated effectively, there may be cases of resistance which local medical personnel are not aware of, and the study is designed to determine if this is the case.
Dozens of antibiotic treatments are being rendered useless worldwide, as some STIs have become immune due to misuse and overuse of the drugs in recent the years.
Last August, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued new guidelines for the treatment of three common STIs in response to the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.
The WHO noted that chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis are all caused by bacteria and are generally curable with antibiotics.
The WHO estimated that worldwide each year, 131 million people are infected with chlamydia, 78 million with gonorrhoea, and 5.6 million with syphilis.
“Resistance of these STIs to the effect of antibiotics has increased rapidly in recent years and has reduced treatment options,” said the WHO.
“Of the three STIs, gonorrhoea has developed the strongest resistance to antibiotics. Strains of multidrug-resistant gonorrhoea that do not respond to any available antibiotics have already been detected.
“Antibiotic resistance in chlamydia and syphilis, though less common, also exists, making prevention and prompt treatment critical,” added the WHO.