Two cases of multi-drug resistant gonorrhoea recently detected in Australia: media release

Professor Brendan Murphy, Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer, Australian Government Department of Health 

17 April 2018

Two cases of multi-drug resistant gonorrhoea have been recently detected in Australia. One case was diagnosed in Western Australia and a second case diagnosed in Queensland. 

Multi-drug resistant strains can be difficult to treat and it is important to prevent further spread.

Evidence suggests that one of the Australian cases acquired their infection in Southeast Asia.

The situation is being closely monitored by public health authorities.

Can you get gonorrhoea from kissing?

ABC Radio (Hack), 8th November 2017

In a troubling development, Melbourne researchers suspect gonorrhoea is being spread by kissing, overturning years of conventional wisdom.

Although it’s early days and not cause for alarm, there is evidence to suggest ‘throat-to-throat transmission’ may be driving the spread of gonorrhea in inner-city Australia.

It’s been generally understood you could only get gonorrhea by having vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has gonorrhea. Dr Vincent J Cornelisse, a sexual health physician and PhD candidate at Monash University, has been conducting research that challenges this idea.

Professor Basil Donovan, head of the Sexual Health Program at the Kirby Institute, told Hack the finding was “highly tenuous”. “You’ll need a lot more science before you put out a warning,” he said.

 

ZERO: no linked HIV transmissions in PARTNER study after couples had sex 58,000 times without condoms

HIV Treatment Bulletin,  12 July 2016

The PARTNER study showing the impact of HIV treatment (ART) on reducing transmission will benefit millions of people globally.

The results set a new challenge about whether transmission is anything other than a theoretical risk when someone is taking effective ART. This reverses the common assumption that, by definition, some level of risk always exists when one partner is HIV positive.

The PARTNER study provides good evidence that undetectable viral load might be a threshold below which sexual HIV transmission does not occur. The importance of the PARTNER study is that it included both gay and straight couples, that it measured risk in people who were not using condoms and that it estimated absolute risks.

  • Read more here
  • Access JAMA paper (free full text) here

Know your chances of contracting an STI

British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, Canada

A common question people have is “What are my chances of getting an STI?”  While there is no simple answer, the charts below give an estimate of your chances, when your partner has that sexually transmitted infection (STI). These charts are based on research where possible, and have been reviewed by STI experts in British Columbia. 

These charts don’t cover every situation or every STI.

For example, for HIV the charts do not address the fact that risk of transmission is even lower if your partner is on treatment for HIV and has undetectable viral load.

Here’s what the different chances mean in the charts:

  • Not passed (or possible only in theory): There is no possibility for passing the infection or it is theoretically possible, but there is no evidence that this happens.
  • Not commonly passed: This is not a common way to pass the infection but it may be possible with the right conditions (e.g., if condom breaks).
  • Can be passed:  The infection can be passed this way with the right conditions (for example, from skin which is not covered by a condom or barrier).
  • Easily passed: The infection is easily passed this way.

Links to charts:

Are antimicrobial condoms the new frontier against STIs? Not quite…

The Conversation, 13 October 2014, 6.09am AEDT

Australian biotech company Starpharma has announced the imminent launch of a condom coated with an antimicrobial chemical.

While it might be marketed as a great leap forward for preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs), it’s unlikely to offer any more protection than your average condom.

Read more here