First a warning, this post includes content of a sexual nature, reader discretion advised.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s) should be on the on the forefront of the minds of all expats living kick-ass sexually active lives in China, although we don’t always like to think about it when things start to get hot and heavy.
It’s always been risky sleeping around the Middle Kingdom, but lately it seems like the risk has only been increasing.
Infections are becoming more serious and more untreatable as our resistance to antibiotics becomes stronger, research is showing that our ability to treat infection is waning as these infections evolve faster than our ability to treat them.
The hot infection to watch these days is gonorrhea, the infection that may one day move onto the infamous list of untreatable diseases.
A recent Plos Magazine study looked at 4,000 cases of gonorrhea around China and tested the infections response to the two antibiotics currently being used to treat it. They found that 19% were resistant to azithromycin, 11% to ceftriaxone, and 3.3% to both. These results may look like small percentages, but it’s growing evidence of bacteria’s ability to evolve quickly overtime and beat us.
This slide in our ability to treat gonorrhea follows a global trend of antibiotics becoming less effective.
A new drug called zoliflodacin is in trial stages, but this isn’t going to solve the problem until some of the root causes can be addressed.
The reason we’re all becoming resistant to antibiotics however, in a nutshell, is because of overuse.
According to The Washington Post we are all taking antibiotics too readily and are treating them as a first response to illness, rather than the last resort we should be treating them as.
Even if you don’t take antibiotics, whether because you (correctly) see them as a last resort or, like me, you can’t be bothered going through the fuss of getting a prescription, you’re still being exposed in many other ways.
Antibiotics are being used in antibacterial creams and these creams are being used too liberally and often in place of simple everyday hand washing.
Another thing we can do in the fight is keep up with our vaccinations, prevention will keep you from needing the antibiotics at all.
The next cause of our resistance to antibiotics is the most delicious one of all, and the hardest one for someone like me to avoid.
The U.S National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health writes that the livestock we eat including cows, chickens and pigs are regularly treated with and fed antibiotics to combat illness brought on from horrible living conditions and overcrowding for animals living in factory containment.
The animals become sick from being kept too close together and not being cared for to maximize profits and keep the food as cheap as possible, this then passes down resistance to antibiotics to consumers and prevents our ability to be treated with these drugs once we become sick. This includes resistance to last line defenses like ‘Colistin’.
Colistin is a last resort drug that can be given to a patient usually exposed to infections within hospitals and is a last resort when all other attempts have failed. Colistin can be read about at The American Society for Microbiology
Regulation has tried to keep administration of Colistin as limited as possible to ensure that bacteria builds a resistance to it as slowly as possible so that it can be used to keep us from dying when all other drugs have been tried and an infection might otherwise kill us.
This attempt has failed unfortunately as it turns out that chickens and pigs in China and Vietnam have been given Colistin for years to combat illness. This means that this final line of defense can’t be relied on to work within people who may have developed a resistance unknowingly by eating pork and chicken.
The reason I’ve been thinking about infection and STD’s lately is because of an article I read in Shanghaiist
I’ve tried to be as careful as I can while living in China and having a sexy time, but a spot test of condoms by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine on assignment from the Chinese government found that of the 133 batches of condoms tested, one third failed quality tests.
Brands tested included Jissbon, Elasun, Okamoto, Sixsex, Donless, One Topeak, and True Sex and after stress tests 43 batches were found with holes, or made with bad quality that led to holes and bursting.
This is hugely alarming for those people that just want to live their life and actually do the right thing and always practice safe sex.
We shouldn’t feel like we should cut down on having fun, but I guess we do need to be more careful about what protection we trust, and make sure that we are being tested regularly for infection.
Although being tested in China is a whole other ball game, but that’s the subject of another post.