Last year the talk was about syphilis being on the rise in S.F., and across the country a new, antibiotic-resistant strain of the clap was making headlines too. Well, now they say that a particularly stubborn and resistant strain may have originated here in our slutty city.
Talk about antibiotic-resistant strains goes back a while, and gonorrhea has a habit of evolving quickly to outwit our drugs. This one strain was thought to have originated in "California or Hawaii" in 2006, and now health experts are pointing the finger at San Francisco specifically as the likely source, as the Examiner and KTVU are reporting. Department of Public Health Director Barbara Garcia seems to be one of the sources of this speculation, writing in a May 20 report that "San Francisco, along with other cities on the West Coast of the U.S., is a site of possible emergence of drug-resistant gonorrhea."
The two groups most likely to contract the pernicious strain, or gonorrhea in general, are black adolescents and gay men, with gay men contracting the disease at a rate of more than 30 times that of the rest of the population.
One thing that people contracting gonorrhea are likely not using is a condom, which would help slow the spread of the disease in these populations. But among sexually active gay men in particular, a new debate is raging about the option of taking Truvada, or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in order to prevent HIV infection without the use of condoms. And one of the arguments against using PrEP in this way is that it creates more opportunity for the spread of other STDs, including chlamydia (currently the most common STD in the nation), syphilis, and gonorrhea a drop in condom use is being blamed for that 30-times figure among gay men.
It's interesting to note that since the sexual revolution heyday of the 1970s, the rate of gonorrhea infection has dropped significantly. There were 2,300 new reported cases of the clap in S.F. last year, which is up from 1,900 cases in 2010, but down from 17,000 cases per year back in the mid-70s.
But our clap is super-aggressive clap, and the drug companies aren't working fast enough to create new antibiotics to fight it, meaning it's no longer the easiest to cure of the STDs. So you really don't want this clap.
Also, at some point, this might mean we have incurable gonorrhea. And that would be really bad.