A drug-resistant form of gonorrhea with an overwhelmingly disproportionate effect on homosexuals is making its way eastward from Hawaii and California, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

The data presented “show that drug resistant gonorrhea is a rapidly emerging health concern, particularly for gay and bisexual men,” the CDC’s STD prevention director John Douglas told reporters last week.

Incidences of the drug-resistant disease are 12 times higher for homosexual and bisexual men than for other men, based on data acquired in clinics from 30 U.S. cities between 2002 and 2003, the Washington Blade reported.

Homosexual men are resistant to flouroquinolones, a type of antibiotic used to treat bacterial ailments, including gonorrhea and urinary tract infections, said the newspaper, which caters to homosexuals.

Drug-resistant gonorrhea cases among homosexuals jumped from 1.8 percent to 4.9 percent between 2002 and 2003, the CDC said.

Douglas pointed out undiagnosed and untreated gonorrhea also facilitates HIV infection.

“There is mounting evidence these increasing STD rates are fueled by a variety of factors,” he said, including relaxed safer sex practices, substance abuse, crystal methamphetamine use and the availability of the Internet for meeting sex partners.

Dr. Kenneth Mayer, medical research director at Fenway Community Health in Boston noted that since gonorrhea is transmitted sexually, if a homosexual man is infected with a drug-resistant strain, it is more likely to remain within homosexual circles and cause the strain to be amplified there, the Blade reported.

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