New Morning-After Type Pill May Be The Answer To Rising STD Cases
New morning-after type pill may be the answer to rising STD cases. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are seeing a concerning increase in the United States. To fight these infections, doctors are looking into the potential of an old drug. Rising STD cases are credited to factors like less condom usage, insufficient sex education, and reduced testing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each year, millions of citizens get infected, with the highest rates observed among men who have sex with men, Black and Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans.
According to Dr. John M. Douglas Jr., a retired health official and lecturer at the Colorado School of Public Health, sexually transmitted diseases have been a neglected public health problem for decades, in spite of being the most commonly reported infectious diseases.
Many Physicians Are Optimistic About Reversal Of Rising STD Cases
In an effort to reverse this trend, many doctors are hopeful about the use of doxycycline, an inexpensive antibiotic that has been available for over 50 years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is in the process of developing recommendations for using doxycycline as a morning-after-style pill to prevent STDs. Dr. Leandro Mena, director of the agency's STD prevention division, believes that this drug shows potential based on a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
This study involved around 500 gay men, bisexual men, and transgender women in Seattle and San Francisco who had a history of contracting STD’s. Participants were given a single doxycycline pill within 72 hours of unprotected sex. The researchers found that those who took the pills were about 90% less likely to contract chlamydia, about 80% less likely to contract syphilis, and over 50% less likely to contract gonorrhea when compared to people who did not take the pills after unprotected sex. The study was built on previous research from France that showed similar results.
It May Not Work For Everyone
Dr. Philip Andrew Chan is consulting with the CDC on the doxycycline recommendations. He highlighted the need for advanced approaches to address the rising rates of STDs. Nevertheless, it's worth noting that the CDC will have multiple factors to consider when confirming the recommendations. Some concerns include potential side effects such as stomach issues and rashes after exposure to the sun, as well as past studies suggesting it may not be effective in heterosexual women. Additionally, extensive use of doxycycline for prevention could lead to bacterial mutations that make the drug less effective, similar to what has happened with other antibiotics.
In spite of these deliberations, the San Francisco Department of Public Health has already issued direction on using doxycycline as an infection-prevention measure, becoming the first U.S. health department to do so. Some clinics are also recommending the antibiotic to patients at higher risk of STDs.
Derrick Woods-Morrow, a 33-year-old artist and assistant professor, is among those who have adopted this preventive measure. He prefers not to rely solely on condoms, as they can be prone to issues during use. A decade ago, he started taking an anti-viral medication to protect himself from HIV, and about five years ago, he learned about the potential of doxycycline to prevent other STDs. He finds it beneficial for protecting both himself and his partners and has not tested positive for chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis while using it. Woods-Morrow believes that using doxycycline is a way to reclaim sexual freedom and enjoy healthy interactions with peace of mind.