Researchers from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) say a new strain of gonorrhoea, a sexually transmitted disease resistant to standard antibiotics, is circulating in the capital, Nairobi, especially among female sex workers.
Those behind the study blame misinformation as some sex workers, who are on a daily HIV prevention pill, believe it will also prevent them from sexually transmitted diseases and were not able to negotiate condom use.
More than 350 sex workers from one clinic in Nairobi, which reported high cases of gonorrhoea, took part in the study.
Three-quarters of the participants admitted to having unprotected sex with their partners and clients – as it pays more. Some of them said they slept with at least 29 clients in two weeks.
The researchers are calling on the Kenyan government to change the current treatment policy as well as advocate for more tests to determine how widespread the problem is in the country.
Gonorrhoea is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases globally. More than 80 million cases are reported globally every year.
What is gonorrhoea?
- The disease is caused by the bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
- The infection is spread by unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex.
- Of those infected, about one in 10 heterosexual men and more than three-quarters of women, and gay men, have no easily recognisable symptoms.
- But symptoms can include a thick green or yellow discharge from sexual organs, pain when urinating and bleeding between periods.
- Untreated infection can lead to infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease and can be passed on to a child during pregnancy.