The 'stealth' STI that makes women infertile

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A rare sexually-transmitted infection (STI) could spark a "public health emergency" within 15 years if not taken seriously, the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) has warned.

Experts say a lack of test kits means it is regularly confused with chlamydia and treated with incorrect doses of antibiotics - building up unsafe antibiotic resistance which could see it soon become untreatable.

"MG is rapidly becoming the new "superbug": It's already increasingly resistant to most of the antibiotics we use to treat chlamydia and changes its pattern of resistance during treatment, so it's like trying to hit a moving target", said Dr. Peter Greenhouse, the lead sexual health clinician at Weston General Hospital's Weston Integrated Sexual Health Centre. "Everyone can protect themselves from STIs by consistently and correctly using condoms with new and casual partners".

Like any STI, the best way to prevent MG is by using condoms.

It was first identified in the United Kingdom in the 1980s and is thought to affect 1-2% of the general population.

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Although tests for MG have been developed they are not now available at all clinics. Macrolide resistance in the United Kingdom is estimated at about 40%, say the guidelines.

"It's about time the public learned about Mycoplasma genitalium", he said.

BASHH recommends that MG is treated with a seven-day course of the antibiotic, doxycycline, followed by a course of azithromycin.

Almost half of 16 to 24-year-olds admit they have had sex with a new partner without using a condom, a Public Health England report said in December.

"Resources are urgently needed to ensure that diagnostic and antimicrobial resistance testing is available for women with the condition who are at high risk of infertility".

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