JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Gonorrhea is one of the fastest growing sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S. and it's quickly becoming more resistant to antibiotics.
Since the 1940s, gonorrhea has had a history of becoming resistant to the drugs used to treat it.
There are now studies that show that the bacteria is starting to require higher and higher amounts of antibiotics to work. The fear is that, soon, they won't work at all.
There have already been cases in Asia and even in Hawaii where those methods no longer work. Usually, if a person has the disease, they're given an injection and a couple of pills and they're cured.
"But if it requires intravenous antibiotics, that's going to require hospitalization, home health nurse and it's a common disease," says Dr. Edward Khan with the Jefferson County Health Department. "Gonorrhea, like some other STDs, is on a very rapid increase."
There is a national project in which samples of gonorrhea are taken every month and tested for drug resistance. Birmingham is included in this project, and so even though we haven't seen any cases here, it would allow us to know if we are getting close.