The British Association of Sexual Health and HIV is drafting new guidelines on how to spot and treat Mycoplasma genitalium (MG). This lesser known sexually transmitted disease has no symptoms and can silently threaten a woman’s fertility if left untreated.
MG is a bacterium that can be picked up during unprotected sex with an infected person. In men it causes swelling of the urethra that produces discharge from the penis, making it difficult to urinate. In women it can cause the reproductive organs to inflame, causing bleeding and possibly a fever.
Symptoms can often be mild or absent so many people are unaware they have the disease. It can also be mistaken for Chlamydia, which can further delay treatment.
It can be treated but there is some evidence that the infection is developing resistance to some of them.
Eradication rates using one family of antibiotics, macrolides, are decreasing globally, while azithromycin still works in most cases.
Informing the public about how to stay well while being sexually active is important and pharmacists are well-placed to encourage regular STD testing and to inform people of the dangers of unprotected sex.