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Why Valentine’s Day sex could become a dangerous liaison: Greater risk of contracting a DEADLY disease that is antibiotic resistant, warns scientist

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Contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) could be deadly this Valentine’s Day, warns an expert.

Dr Tina Joshi, a lecturer in molecular microbiology at Plymouth University, spoke of the emerging threat of antibiotic resistance.

Unnecessarily dishing out the drugs is making bugs that could once be easily cured, such as gonorrhoea, become untreatable.

Antibiotic resistance, considered on par with terrorism and global warming, could kill more people than cancer in the next 30 years, she warned. 

Dr Joshi said: ‘It’s Valentine’s Day and I’m not telling anyone not to go and have fun. 

‘But beware that those dangerous liaisons might be more dangerous than initially thought if you don’t use protection and understand the antimicrobial resistance threat facing all of us.’

Dr Tina Joshi, a lecturer in molecular microbiology at Plymouth University, spoke of the emerging threat of antibiotic resistance in terms of STIs

Dr Tina Joshi, a lecturer in molecular microbiology at Plymouth University, spoke of the emerging threat of antibiotic resistance in terms of STIs

She added: ‘Unprotected sex is nothing new in our society. People think “what’s the worst that could happen?”

‘If you get a nasty condition, you can be treated with antibiotics. Right? Not necessarily. Antibiotics are ceasing to be as effective, and imagine where we’d be then…

‘Without antibiotics, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis, which are caused by bacteria, wouldn’t be treatable. 

‘Even worse, STIs often go undiagnosed meaning they don’t get treated until it’s too late.’

Her warnings follow the emergence of a drug-resistant strain of gonorrhoea that has prompted concerns across the planet.

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a warning about ‘super gonorrhoea’ last July. It said millions of lives were at risk.

WHAT IS ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE?

Antibiotics have been doled out unnecessarily by GPs and hospital staff for decades, fueling once harmless bacteria to become superbugs. 

The World Health Organization has previously warned if nothing is done the world was headed for a ‘post-antibiotic’ era.

It claimed common infections, such as chlamydia, will become killers without immediate answers to the growing crisis.

Bacteria can become drug resistant when people take incorrect doses of antibiotics, or they are given out unnecessarily. 

Chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies claimed in 2016 that the threat of antibiotic resistance is as severe as terrorism.

Figures estimate that superbugs will kill ten million people each year by 2050, with patients succumbing to once harmless bugs.

Around 700,000 people already die yearly due to drug-resistant infections including tuberculosis (TB), HIV and malaria across the world. 

Concerns have repeatedly been raised that medicine will be taken back to the ‘dark ages’ if antibiotics are rendered ineffective in the coming years.

In addition to existing drugs becoming less effective, there have only been one or two new antibiotics developed in the last 30 years.

In September, the World Health Organisation warned antibiotics are ‘running out’ as a report found a ‘serious lack’ of new drugs in the development pipeline.

Without antibiotics, caesarean sections, cancer treatments and hip replacements would also become incredibly ‘risky’, it was said at the time.  

At the time, just three people across the world were confirmed to have it – but a more recent report shows it has struck 50 countries. 

Public Health England figures reveal that 420,000 STI diagnoses were made in 2016, according to the most recent data available.

But ‘hundreds of thousands of people engage in unprotected sex’, Dr Joshi warned, meaning the figure could be the tip of the iceberg.

Antibiotics have been doled out unnecessarily by GPs and hospital staff for decades, fueling once harmless bacteria to become superbugs. 

The WHO has previously warned if nothing is done the world was headed for a ‘post-antibiotic’ era.

It claimed common infections, such as chlamydia, will become killers without immediate answers to the growing crisis.

Bacteria can become drug resistant when people take incorrect doses of antibiotics, or they are given out unnecessarily. 

Chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies claimed in 2016 that the threat of antibiotic resistance is as severe as terrorism.

Figures estimate that superbugs will kill ten million people each year by 2050, with patients succumbing to once harmless bugs.

Around 700,000 people already die yearly due to drug-resistant infections including tuberculosis (TB), HIV and malaria across the world. 

Concerns have repeatedly been raised that medicine will be taken back to the ‘dark ages’ if antibiotics are rendered ineffective in the coming years.

In addition to existing drugs becoming less effective, there have only been one or two new antibiotics developed in the last 30 years.

In September, the WHO warned antibiotics are ‘running out’ as a report found a ‘serious lack’ of new drugs in the development pipeline.

Without antibiotics, caesarean sections, cancer treatments and hip replacements would also become incredibly ‘risky’, it was said at the time.  

WHAT STIS ARE BECOMING RESISTANT? 

Last August, the World Health Organization issued new guidelines for the treatment of three common STIs.

The guidance was issued amid fears of the ever-growing threat of antibiotic resistance, considered as severe as terrorism.

Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis – three of the most common STIs – were all targeted in the advice. 

The guidance said: ‘Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis are all caused by bacteria and are generally curable with antibiotics. 

‘However, these STIs often go undiagnosed and are becoming more difficult to treat, with some antibiotics now failing as a result of misuse and overuse.

‘Resistance of these STIs to the effect of antibiotics has increased rapidly in recent years and has reduced treatment options.’ 

While scientists warned last month that a little-known STI, called mycoplasma genitalium, is rapidly becoming resistant. 

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