Tests for MG have recently been developed but are not available in all clinics yet although doctors can send samples to Public Health England’s laboratory to get a diagnostic result.
It can be treated with antibiotics – but the infection is developing resistance to some of these drugs.
‘I tested positive for MG’
John – not his real name – contacted the BBC to tell of his experience of having the infection.
“I was diagnosed with MG last year after meeting my new partner.
“We both sensibly got tested and declared clean at the start of the relationship but GUM [genitourinary medicine] clinics don’t test for MG, unless you have symptoms.
“So about a month into the relationship I developed the male symptoms – a sharp burning pain while urinating and a pus-like dishcharge from my urethra – but I had no idea what was wrong.
“After a few weeks I tested positive, while my partner was negative, which didn’t make sense. She then got tested again and was positive.
“We were put on antibiotics for two weeks but had no sexual contact for five, to make sure we were clean. After further tests we both tested negative but I still had some small amount of leakage which I was told would go away. It eventually cleared.
“Then out of the blue I got a UTI and symptoms were exactly like MG.
“I am now certain it has returned and I am awaiting further test results.
“The GUM clinic refused to retest my partner as she hasn’t shown any symptoms.
“I think clinics should test for MG as part of their sexual health screening process, as this would have been picked up at the start for me.”
Eradication rates of MG following treatment with one family of antibiotics, called macrolides, are decreasing globally. Macrolide resistance in the UK is estimated at about 40%, say the guidelines.
One particular macrolide antibiotic, azithromycin, still works in most cases however.
Dr Peter Greenhouse, a sexual consultant in Bristol and BASHH member, urged people to take precautions.
“It’s about time the public learned about Mycoplasma genitalium,” he said.
“It’s yet another good reason to pack the condoms for the summer holidays – and actually use them.”
‘Out of control’
Paddy Horner, who co-wrote the guidelines, said: “These new guidelines have been developed, because we can’t afford to continue with the approach we have followed for the past 15 years as this will undoubtedly lead to a public health emergency with the emergence of MG as a superbug.
“Our guidelines recommend that patients with symptoms are correctly diagnosed using an accurate MG test, treated correctly then followed up to make sure they are cured.
“Resources are urgently needed to ensure that diagnostic and antimicrobial resistance testing is available for women with the condition who are at high risk of infertility.
“We are asking the government directly to make this funding available to prevent a public health emergency waiting to happen and which is already spiralling out of control.”
Public Health England says testing is available to diagnose MG and any signs of drug resistance, if necessary.
Dr Helen Fifer, consultant microbiologist at Public Health England, welcomed the guidelines, adding: “If you have symptoms of an STI, we recommend you get tested at your local sexual health clinic.
“Everyone can protect themselves from STIs by consistently and correctly using condoms with new and casual partners.”
Sexual Transmitted Diseases
Sexual Transmitted Disease does not discriminate, and it isn’t uncommon to contract an STD while in a committed relationship. You and your partner, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, beneficial friend should be tested yearly no matter what your relationship status. Husbands and wives have been know to spread a STD to one another during marriage.
Do not be too embarrassed to ask for your partner to get tested. STDs are know to be a major cooperate effecting a womans reproductive system. Leaving you unable to naturally become pregnant. It is imperative that you know your status for the health of your future and your hopes of becoming a mother or father. Babies born vaginally birth while your body is infected with an undetected STD are also effected. Be responsible, be protected, and be aware of your status. Educate yourself by reading the signs, symptoms and effects below.