Entries in sexually transmitted disease (3)


Woman Wins $1M Suit against Dentist Who Gave Her STD

Hemera/Thinkstock(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- Unsafe sex can be costly, nearly a million dollars in this case. After four days of testimony and two hours of deliberation, a jury has awarded an Oregon woman $900,000 in damages because she contracted genital herpes after a liaison with a retired dentist.

“The jury essentially said if a person knows he has an STD, he has a duty to inform a sex partner before, not after,” said Randall Vogt, the woman’s attorney.

Vogt’s client, who sued under a pseudonym, met the retired dentist, 69, on an Internet dating website in 2010 and went on three dates, he said. On the fourth, they had sex.

The woman, 49, handed her partner a condom, but his sexual advances took over too quickly, she says. After intercourse, as the two lay in bed discussing their connection, the man decided to open up and revealed he had herpes, according to the lawsuit. The woman kicked him out of her home.

Eleven days later, the woman had a painful outbreak, which she continues to have periodically. Antiviral medication caused her to lose her hair and she has since gained weight from the drugs she takes to treat the depression caused by the herpes, the lawsuit alleged.

Defense attorney Shawn Lillegren argued that the woman was careless and money-hungry.  “Grow up. Come on. You’re an adult. He’s an adult. They had sex,” Lillegren said, according to the Oregonian.

But the jury didn’t buy it, and Tuesday found the man 75 percent liable for negligence and completely liable for civil battery.

Vogt said this kind of lawsuit is “extremely rare” because it’s often hard to prove where the victim contracted the STD. He also said embarrassment plays a factor in deterring victims from confronting former partners in court.

He hopes his client set a new precedent.

“When people learn they can be sued for transmitting an STD to another person,” he said, “it is going to encourage people to be more careful and less reckless about their contact.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Super Gonorrhea: Scientists Discover Antibiotic-Resistant STD

Photodisc/Thinkstock(ÖREBRO, Sweden) -- Scientists have discovered a new strain of gonorrhea-causing bacteria in Japan that is resistant to available treatments.

Since the 1940s, the sexually transmitted disease known as "the clap" has been easily treated with antibiotics. But the new strain of Neisseria gonorrhoeae has genetically mutated to evade cephalosporins -- the only antibiotics still effective against the infection.

"This is both an alarming and a predictable discovery," lead researcher Magnus Unemo, professor at the Swedish Reference Laboratory for Pathogenic Neisseria in Örebro, Sweden, said in a statement. "Since antibiotics became the standard treatment for gonorrhea in the 1940s, this bacterium has shown a remarkable capacity to develop resistance mechanisms to all drugs introduced to control it."

The discovery, announced by Unemo at the International Society for Sexually Transmitted Disease Research meeting in Quebec City, Canada, could hail gonorrhea's transition from treatable STD to global public health threat.

"While it is still too early to assess if this new strain has become widespread, the history of newly emergent resistance in the bacterium suggests that it may spread rapidly unless new drugs and effective treatment programs are developed," Unemo said in a statement.

Cephalosporin-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae joins methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant enterococci in a sinister class of bacteria known as "superbugs." But unlike hospital-acquired MRSA and VRE, which spread where antibiotic use runs high and immune defenses run low, super gonorrhea could spread anywhere.

"This report points out that antibiotic resistance is occurring not only in hospitals, but out in the community," said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. And while the strain was discovered in Kyoto, Japan, antibiotic-resistant bacteria "don't need a passport."

Antibiotic resistance is not a new phenomenon -- even for Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which developed resistance to several other antibiotics used before cephalosporins.

"We were concerned about this 20 years ago and combated that very effectively," said Schaffner, explaining how gonorrhea treatments have evolved alongside the bacteria. "But if you have a strain that's completely resistant to antibiotics, you have to very quickly develop strategies to recognize the resistant strain and alternative treatment regimens."

Such tests and new treatments could be developed, Schaffner said, but they would likely be more expensive. Amid cutbacks across all facets of research, pharmaceutical companies are investing less in the quest for new antibiotics, he said.

With an estimated 700,000 new cases each year in the U.S. alone, gonorrhea is one of the most common STDs. It spreads through direct contact with the penis, vagina, mouth or anus, and can also be transmitted from mom to baby during delivery.

But only 50 percent of infected women and less than five percent of infected men develop symptoms, such as a burning sensation and discharge. Left untreated, the infection can spread to the skin, blood and other organs causing pain, infertility and even death.

A July 8, 2011, report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged doctors to be on the lookout for gonorrhea resistant to cephalosporins, and to report cases promptly.

The new superbug serves as a reminder that antibiotic resistance is a problem that spreads beyond hospital and nursing home walls.

"We need to implement a program so that pharmaceutical companies are motivated financially to pursue research in developing antibiotics," Schaffner said. "And both the public and professional have to be much more rigorous in their expectations and use of antibiotics."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: No Symptoms of Herpes Does Not Mean No Risk to Others

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- Genital herpes remains one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases.  Many people think they can only infect their sexual partners if they are showing symptoms, such as genital lesions. A new study finds that among those who test positive but have no clinical symptoms, the infection is still active and can be shedding in the genital tract, therefore posing a potentially increased risk of transmitting the infection to sexual partners. 

This was the first study to look over time at people that have HSV-2 infection but don't have a history of genital herpes.

Doctors Anna Wald and Christine Johnston from the University of Washington in Seattle and co-authors studied almost 500 people, some with recurring genital herpes with  symptoms and others testing positive for the HSV-2 antibody having no clinical signs of genital herpes. All were asked to swab the genital area for at least 30 days to assess how often the virus was active.

The study appears in a theme issue on infectious diseases and immunological disorders in this week's JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers also found people who had recurring genital herpes had the active virus on about 20 percent of days. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio