Last week international researchers identified an antibiotic-resistant strain of the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea. This discovery is both worrisome and predictable, as gonorrhea has consistently shown a capability to develop resistances to antibiotics introduced to control it. Researchers don’t yet know if this strain has become widespread, but they realize the importance of developing new drugs and treatment programs to combat this type of gonorrhea.
The CDC believes that as many as 700,000 people living in the United States are believed to get gonorrhea annually. The disease’s current treatment is either a dose of an antibiotic called cefixime or a dose of azithromycin (for those who have allergies or sensitivities to penicillin, cefixime, or ceftriaxone). Those who suspect they may have contracted gonorrhea should not try to treat themselves, but should instead get tested by a doctor and, if tests are positive, obtain a prescription from the doctor.
But what if you can’t afford to get tested for gonorrhea (or other STDs) and/or don’t have insurance? Check out this list of free and lower-cost resources for STD testing and sexual health.
- YourSTDHelp.com features a list of free STD health clinics; their database of clinics is searchable by state and includes clinic names, addresses,and phone numbers.
- HIVtest.org also features a database of clinics (searchable either by zip code or by city and state) that not only helps you find clinics that test for HIV, but also clinics that test for other diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes and syphilis. Many of these clinics offer lower prices for those who are uninsured or who have lower incomes.
- Planned Parenthood also offers many services for sexual health, included but not limited to STD testing, for those who are uninsured or who have lower incomes. Click here to find the Planned Parenthood clinic nearest you.
- If you need to speak to someone about STDs and/or sexual health, there are several hotlines available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Sexually Transmitted Diseases Hotline is 800.227.8922.
The National AIDS Hotline is 800.342.AIDS (2437), and the National Herpes Hotline is 919.361.8488.
If you suspect you could have gonorrhea or any other sexually transmitted disease, it’s best to get tested as soon as possible for the sake of your own health as well as the health of any sexual partners you may have. It’s also a good idea to always practice safe sex, especially if you or your partner’s STD statuses are unknown.