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Top Infectious Disease News of the Week—July 29, 2018

AUG 03, 2018 | CONTAGION® EDITORIAL STAFF

#5: UK Health Officials Aim to Stop The Emerging Superbug Mycoplasma Genitalium

Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) is an emerging sexually-transmitted superbug and in an effort to stem the problem, health officials in the United Kingdom have recently passed new guidelines.

First identified in the early 1980s, M. genitalium is a bacterial pathogen which causes urethritis in males. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it causes an estimated 15% to 20% of nongonococcal urethritis (NGU) cases, 20% to 25% of nonchlamydial NGU, and about 30% of persistent or recurrent urethritis. While MG can be asymptomatic, symptoms in men may include watery discharge from the penis and a burning sensation when urinating. In women, it can also cause discharge and urination discomfort, along with bleeding between periods, often after sexual intercourse. Cases left untreated in women can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and fallopian tube scarring, potentially resulting in infertility. Over time, it can also cause inflammation leading to higher susceptibility to other sexually transmitted infections. These infections affect an estimated 1% to 3% of men and women in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia.

Read more about Mycoplasma genitalium.

#4: Consensus Statement Seeks to Halt Criminalization of HIV—Public Health Watch

In 2015, the case of Michael Johnson made national headlines.

At the time, Mr. Johnson, a student at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri and a member of the school’s wrestling team, was arrested and charged with “recklessly infecting [with] and recklessly exposing” multiple sexual partners to HIV. Initially, he was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison; however, last fall, that verdict was overturned, and Mr. Johnson (known by the nickname “Tiger Mandingo”) agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence of 10 years.

Some HIV experts are saying that is still too harsh a punishment. In a consensus statement published in the July 25 issue of the Journal of the International AIDS Society, 20 HIV/AIDS researchers and clinicians from 16 countries have made a formal argument against laws in some countries that effectively criminalize the disease, prosecuting people who are HIV-positive for not disclosing their disease status, exposing sexual partners to the virus, and/or transmitting the virus to unwitting partners. Their position is rooted in science: Several studies released within the past decade, including most notably “PARTNER” and “Opposites Attract,” have not identified any cases of sexual transmission from a person with an undetectable viral load in either heterosexual and male couples of different HIV status.

Read the rest of the Public Health Watch.

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