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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
IRELAND: Surge in Gonorrhea Infections in Ireland
By Caitlin McBride
November 13, 2013 (Dublin) (11.13.2013)

The reported that Ireland has seen a 33-percent increase in gonorrhea since 2010, according to Health Service Executive (HSE), Ireland’s national health agency. Dr. Margaret Fitzgerald, director of public health in HSE East, warned that untreated or improperly treated gonorrhea can cause complications, such as infertility in both men and women. She urged sexually active individuals to use protection and get regular sexual health screenings. A study completed by HSE South East showed that homosexual men and young heterosexuals are the two highest risk groups. Gonorrhea also has seen a recent increase in other countries, and the United Kingdom has seen a 21-percent rise since 2010. Dublin, in particular, has reported 1,077 cases this year alone. HSE is concerned that higher gonorrhea rates may translate to multidrug-resistant gonorrhea as well as higher HIV incidence. Gonorrhea can be present without symptoms, which leaves individuals unaware of their risk of transmission. Better testing methods may have contributed to the increase in the STD cases, Fitzgerald noted, but she added that the driving factor is the number of people engaging in unsafe sexual activities. "…[E]merging antimicrobial resistance is a major concern with gonorrhea and it is possible that multidrug-resistant gonorrhea may become untreatable in the near future,” Fitzgerald said. HSE is working with several other Irish health organizations, including, Union of Students of Ireland, THINK Contraception, and the Dublin AIDS Alliance, on campaigns to raise sexual health awareness.