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Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea

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The AR Solutions Initiative provides critical support to combat AR. Use the Antibiotic Resistance Investment Map to learn how CDC is investing in your area to combat drug-resistant gonorrhea in high risk communities.

Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea Infographic

Infographic Details

Antibiotic Resistance (AR) Solutions Initiative

Antibiotics have successfully treated gonorrhea for several decades; however, the bacteria has developed resistance to nearly every drug used for treatment.


Drug-resistant gonorrhea is an urgent threat.

Gonorrhea is a common, sexually transmitted disease
  • About 820,000 new gonorrhea infections occur each year in the U.S., and less than half are detected and reported to CDC
  • An estimated 246,000 are resistant to at least one antibiotic
Untreated gonorrhea can cause health problems
  • Increases chances of getting or giving HIV, the virus that causes AIDS
  • Spreads from mother to baby during childbirth, causing blindness in the baby
  • Can cause infertility and ectopic pregnancies
  • Spreads to the blood, causing heart and nervous system infections
  • Increases healthcare costs
Growing resistance threatens treatment and control
  • Few U.S. labs can test for resistance
  • Few healthcare settings have access to these lab tests
  • Slow detection of resistance leads to treatment that may not work and delays a rapid response
Action needed
  • Improve monitoring systems to rapidly detect resistant infections
  • Rapidly respond to resistant infections to stop spread


How will CDC’s Solutions Initiative fight drug-resistant gonorrhea?

Ensure that less than 2% of all gonorrhea infections are resistant to the current treatment 2%

Rapidly detect resistant gonorrhea
  • Expand the availability of resistance testing
  • Reduce time to get test results to providers so that patients can be treated in a timely manner
Ensure effective and timely treatment
  • Use test results to choose correct antibiotics for patients
  • Prevent health complications and stop spread with appropriate treatment
Public health action
  • Alert patients and local health departments of a resistant strain quickly
  • Identify and contact sexual partners faster to limit spread of resistant strains
Increase monitoring and awareness
  • Alert healthcare professionals and communities about resistant strains
  • Find hot spots
  • Predict potential outbreaks


Rapid gonorrhea detection, monitoring, tracking, and treatment will help prevent the spread of resistance.

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