October 28, 2021

Mycoplasma Genitalium: sexually transmitted disease

Since man came into existence, one of the most nagging issues that have always troubled humanity is how to stay safe from diseases, especially the sexually transmitted ones that could easily get into our body through while having sexual pleasure.

Over the ages, we have suffered from debilitating sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea, syphilis, acquired immune deficiency syndrome AIDS, Herpes etc and we have seen how devastating they could be to the sufferers so we have come to be wary of them as a form of self defense. However, the world was jolted recently when some British scientists revealed a new addition to the list of veneral diseases sexually active people will have to be wary of.
Although the disease was first discovered in London much earlier in 1980, the new addition in the family of sexually transmitted diseases was called Mycoplasma Genitalium. The STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) has since remained largely unknown until now the British scientists have been able to connect it to some sexual conditions.

M. genitalium is basically transmitted from one person to another when we involve in unprotected anal or vaginal sex. Traces of it have been found in the penis, vagina as well as rectum after sexual intercourse with infected partners, however, traces of the bacterium is yet to be found in the throat which is an indication that oral sex may not really be a medium of transmission.

M. genitalium as revealed by scientists is one of the most prevalent micro organisms known to be closely related to genital tract infections. The pathogenic lives in the ciliated epithelial bacterium can lead to the inflammation of the urinary and genital tracts in both genders. There is indication that it can also have direct links to other health problems like arthritis and pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility especially in women. The new STI has been discovered to have various clinical symptoms that is associated with other sexually transmitted diseases including higher levels of detection among partners of already infected individuals. It is observed to be more prevalent among individuals that have more than one sexual partner as well as men who are into homosexuals’, it is also worse among individuals that are already suffering from HIV.

M. genitalium is not a cause for concern for men alone as it also affects women as well: the risk of infection among women also increases significantly when they have multiple sex partners.

The genome was named Mycoplasma genitalium JCVI-1.0 which also happens to be the initials of the research institute (J. Craig Venter Institute) that synthesized it in 2008 as the first organism that has a synthetic genome. Several years later, in 2014 precisely, protein M was derived from the STI infection.

In advanced countries, prevalent rate of infection is generally low ranging from 1% to 3%

Why Every Sexually Active Person Should Avoid Contracting M. genitalium

  • It can mitigate the chances or possibility of infected people to have off springs
  • M. genitalium in most cases always worsens the condition of people battling with acquired immune deficiency syndrome or other sexually transmitted diseases
  • The STI can cause the growth of deadly ailments like prostate cancer, lymphomas, ovarian cancer and several others
  • The disease can also result to sudden involuntary termination of pregnancy or the birth of premature babies

Symptoms and signs of M. genitalium

The bacterium is not definite when it comes to symptoms, it sometimes manifests textbook symptoms while at other times it will remain asymptomatic, that notwithstanding, it more often than not leads to inflammation of the urethra in both genders.

The major signs of being infected with the disease in men include:

  • The feeling of pains or a burning sensation while urinating
  • The disease can also manifest as a watery discharge from the penis

In women, symptoms include:

  • Abnormal discharge from the vagina
  • Slight pain or discomfort when passing out urine
  • They could experience bleeding after having intercourse

Treatment of M. genitalium

For people are that are unfortunate to fall victim to the disease, then its equally important to emphasize that its not a neither a death sentence nor a terminal ailment in any, provided its treated accordingly. According to the reputable United States’ centers for disease control and prevention, azithromycin have been recommended as well as doxycycline as regimens. Regardless of the various regimens developed to counter the disease, the STI infection is becoming harder to treat with antibiotics because of the antimicrobial that stands its way. To worsen the problem of diagnosing it as well as its treatment, serious challenges are also encountered because they can sometimes become elusive and detecting them becomes a problem even when they are still present.

However, there are strong indications that the azithromycin when taken by a patient over the course of five days is more effective in curing the STI infection rather than a large dose that is taken just once –at the same time, such action can also lead to a situation whereby the disease becomes resistant to further treatment with azithromycin. On the other hand, when doxycycline was applied on selected female patients, it was discovered to be unreliable as it has less than 50% chance of completely setting a patient free from the disease, and was even far worse in men as only 38% of selected patients were cured with doxycycline. So based on these revelations, UK scientists are concentrating their efforts on the azithromycin to be taken over the course of days instead of it being a single dose drug.

Ways of Preventing the Chances of Being Infected with M. genitalium

Just like other sexually transmitted diseases, the most effective way one can ensure that he or she does not become a victim is by ensuring the following:

  • Absolute abstinence from sex
  • One can emphasize on strict and mutual faithfulness among sexual partners
  • The idea of having unprotected sex should be completely discarded
  • When symptoms manifest in a sexual partner, sex should be stopped until antibiotic treatment is completed by both partners
  • Test must be conducted to ensure that the treatment was effective and the infection has cleared from the body system of the patient
  • When it is established that one is already infected then all sexual partners needs to be reached and tests conducted on them as well to ascertain if they have already contracted it and subsequently treated. Also, even when partners of people that have tested positive to M. genitalium shows no symptoms of the disease, they could also be able to infect others
  • It is also important to test for other sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea, Chlamydia etc because symptoms could be mutually intelligible

Just like the outbreak of Zika virus in Brazil and parts of South America that caused a furor some years back, mycoplasma genitalium could also be a new cause for concern for the global community. While the STI is still largely unknown, new studies have shown that it could be far more prevalent already than initially thought.

At the moment, M. genitalium infects more than 1% of people between the ages of 16 and 44 in the United Kingdom, this percentage equates to about 250,000 people that constitute the most sexually active in the population demography. In the same breath, studies in the United States have equally revealed that a similar percentage of the population is also infected with the disease but when the much larger population of the United States relative to the UK is put into consideration, it shows that numbers of such patients could number up to a million plus. If we are to put it in a more graphic perspective, what this means is that M. genitalium is even more common than widely known STD’s like gonorrhea!

Although the United States Food and Drug Administration is yet to approve tests for the STI, it is still necessary for doctors to consider testing for Mycoplasma genitalium when patients who have been effectively treated for other STI’s that have mutually intelligible symtoms still shows signs of the ailment. As research continues on the Mycoplasma genitalium desease, it is left to be seen if the threat will be strong enough to warrant the institution of routine screening for the bacteria in the United States and indeed across the world.


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