When it was thought that people are all aware of all the sexually transmitted diseases circulating around, a new one is now infecting hundreds of people in the United Kingdom. Mycoplasma Genitalium or MG is a sexually transmitted infection discovered originally in the 1980s - a bacterium that can be found in the urinary and genital tracts of humans. It affects the 1 percent of people in ages 16 to 44 years old and does not produce many symptoms - almost none for the people already affected - and further research has suggested it can be transmitted through sexual intercourse.
The International Journal if Epidemiology published the research that studied the disease and collected the statistics from reported cases. It showed that for the previous month, those who were positive for MG didn't have any symptoms in the previous month. It also concluded that the risk for infection was higher for those who had more than four sexual partners for the previous year.
The known symptoms were bleeding after sex and genital discharge, testicular and pelvic pain, and more long-term effects such as pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility. Nigel Field of Public Health England (PHE) stated in his study, "The study adds to the accumulating evidence-base that MG causes infection in some men and women, and the study found that women with MG were more likely to report bleeding after sexual activity. However, over 90 percent of men and more than half of women with MG had no symptoms. It may be that MG does not cause illness in all individuals in whom the infection is detected. Laboratory testing for MG is not yet widely available in the UK." It was concluded that MG is an STI. ''MG is a bacterium that was present in around 1 per cent of the general population aged 16 to 44 years, who had reported at least one sexual partner,'' as he initially said.
Field further assured that PHE has established a national surveillance in the monitoring of this disease from any clinics undertaking the testing and to gather public health data, for awareness, policy and containment of the infection. The public is being reminded to be wary of the risks of unprotected sex and to make use of protective contraceptives such as condoms for cautionary purposes.
The lead author of the study Dr. Pam Sonnenberg said, ''These findings suggest that only testing those who are currently symptomatic would miss the majority of infections. However, further research is needed to understand the clinical implications of infection and possible longer-term complications.''