First-line treatments for gonorrhoea are becoming less effective due to a rise in antimicrobial resistance, according to a report from Public Health England.
The latest figures show that resistance to most first-line treatments for gonorrhoea rose in 2016/17.
As a result, GPs are told to stay alert to any changes to the antimicrobials recommended for first-line use.
The report, published this month, said: ‘The effectiveness of first-line treatment for gonorrhoea continues to be threatened by antimicrobial resistance.’
It reported that resistance to azithromycin (4.7% to 9.2%), ciprofloxacin (33.7% to 36.4%) and cefixime (modal MIC from 0.015 mg/L to 0.03 mg/L) had increased in 2016/17, while resistance to penicillin had declined from 13.9% to 10.8%.
PHE said: ‘Practitioners should ensure that all patients with gonorrhoea are treated and managed according to national guidelines, and should be alert to changes to the antimicrobials recommended for first-line use.’
It also called for ‘regular testing for HIV and STIs’ for men who have sex with men and black ethnic minority women and men, if they are engaging in unprotected sex with new or casual partners.
Anyone under 25 who is sexually active should be screened for chlamydia annually and on change of sexual partner, it added.
Services that provide rapid treatment and partner notification should also be provided to reduce the risk of STI complications and infection spread.