A new antibiotic-resistant form of gonorrhoea has the potential to be worse than AIDS because of its lethal nature, according to US doctors.
“This might be a lot worse than AIDS in the short run because the bacteria is more aggressive and will affect more people quickly,” Alan Christianson, a doctor of naturopathic medicine, told CNBC.
HO41 has not yet killed anyone, or spread outside of Japan – but action is needed in advance, to prevent a global spread of the strain.
Mr Christianson said: “Getting gonorrhoea from this strain might put someone into septic shock and death in a matter of days.”
Health experts in the UK remain concerned by the increasingly aggressive nature of gonorrhea, which is becoming harder and harder to treat, certain strains in Britain may eventually become untreatable within the next few years.
Professor Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer, recently advised the government to add the threat of drug-resistant gonorrhoea to the civil emergencies risk register.
“We have seen a worrying rise in cases of drug resistant gonorrhoea over the last decade,” said Professor Davies.
According to the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), the UK’s largest HIV and sexual health charity, cases of gonorrhea among gay and bisexual men rose by more than a third in 2011.
Drug resistance remains a key problem for the group; gay and bisexual men are more likely to catch gonorrhoea.
Gay and bisexual men living with HIV are also more susceptible to infection from gonorrhoea when engaging in unprotected sex.