Warning: African Americans at Highest Risk of Catching Untreatable Gonorrhea
NewsOne is reporting that African Americans are at the highest risk of all ethnic groups of catching the new, untreatable form of Gonorrhea. The disease is resistant to drugs and spreading rapidly, leading to warnings from the World Health Organization. Health officials are warning that since the disease affects African Americans more than other groups, we are also more likely to catch the drug resistant strain of the disease.
“We can say that we are seeing early warning signs abroad that the disease is becoming resistant to treatment,” says Dr. Robert Kirkcaldy, a medical epidemiologist in the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, “which is why we should take action now.”
According to Kirkcaldy, there is the very real prospect of untreatable gonorrhea emerging in the United States, especially in communities of color.
If so, this spells bad news for African Americans. Dr. Kirkcaldy says it’s difficult to predict how long it could take untreatable gonorrhea to emerge in the United States. Medical experts speculate, though, that it could be in about a decade.
Overall, African Americans remain disproportionately affected by gonorrhea,accounting for the majority of infections (69 percent or 167,655 cases) in 2010, says Dr. Kirkcaldy, who cites the latest available statistics. The infection rate among Blacks is 20 times as high as Whites (512.2 vs. 26.0 per 100,000 people) and 8 times as high among Hispanics, he adds. While reported gonorrhea rates have hit historically low levels in recent years, the number of cases still remain unacceptably high in the United States.