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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
UNITED STATES: New Alternatives Examined for Treating Gonorrhea
By Lindsay Friedman
July 16, 2013
USA Today (07.15.2013)

CDC and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have funded and conducted a clinical trial of new gonorrhea treatments. The disease, the most common STD in the United States, had only one available form of treatment—oral antibiotic cefixime and injectable antibiotic ceftriaxone— and that has become increasingly less effective as the bacteria has continued to mutate. The trial included 401 gonorrhea-infected men and women ages 15–60. The participants received one of two different combinations of injectable and oral antibiotics—either injectable gentamicin with oral azithromycin or oral gemifloxacin with oral azithromycin. Both of these antibiotics are easily available in the United States. Results showed that the combination using the injectable drug was 100-percent effective while the combination with oral drugs had a 99.5-percent rate of success. Both combinations were 100 percent effective in curing infections in the throat and rectum. NIAID Director Anthony Fauci commented that although the new treatments are a great addition, are just as effective as the previously used treatment, and cost about the same, they are slightly more toxic, producing mild side effects (mostly gastrointestinal) in the majority of patients. Robert Kirkcaldy, the study’s leading specialist and a medical epidemiologist at CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, noted that for the present, CDC would retain the current recommended treatment, listing the newer combinations as alternatives if needed, as they continued to seek other options.