Sex in the City Meets Nurse Gail | Antibiotic Resistant Chlamydia
Not only am I a nurse in New York City, I am also a single woman. I recently met a handsome, elegant, and charming man whom any woman would be drawn to. We went on several dates and something was amiss. While at dinner, I asked him to explain a month’s worth of mixed signals. With surprising confidence he said, “I’m actually glad you asked because this is something we should talk about. I’ve been dealing with chlamydia since I met you. I’m on my third round of antibiotics and it won’t go away.” I heard the woman at the table next to us choke on her wine as I was busy putting on my clinical nurse face.
I provided support and encouragement, “It’s a bacterial infection and it WILL eventually go away.” I also asked if I could share his story with others. He shrugged and cavalierly replied, “I don’t care. Like you said, it’s just a bacterial infection and it will go away.” The conversation continued.
Nurse Gail: “Can you tell me a little bit about the woman who gave this to you?”
My Date: I don’t know. It could be one of three women given the time period.
Nurse Gail: You mean you had unprotected sex with three different women in one week?
My Date: Yeah.
Nurse Gail: After you went to the doctor, did you tell the ladies about your diagnosis?
My Date: I told two of the three. One was Asian and I don’t think it was her. Actually, I had sex a second time with the one that I think I got it from. I’m pretty sure it was her because I didn’t feel right afterward.
Nurse Gail: You mean you think she gave it back to you?
My Date: She denies having it. She says she goes to the doctor and has all that stuff checked out every three weeks or so. I believe her.
Nurse Gail: Who has STI testing every three weeks? And what makes you believe her?
My Date: She’s beautiful. She’s a blonde from Texas, has her own charity, and a really nice apartment.
My Date’s ability to rise above the stigma of sexually transmitted infections is impressive however his sexual risk taking is not. Regardless, I am sincerely thankful for his honesty. I would not have guessed, given his pocket square and high IQ, that he could be infected with and ignorantly spreading chlamydia. Furthermore, he had no idea that a socially conscious southern belle could have given it to him. While we all do it to some degree, please remember that using stereotypes and sexual profiling is a bad idea.
There is also the issue of antibiotic resistant chlamydia. Yes, it exists. It is uncommon but it’s out there. It began popping up in the late-nineties and studied more extensively in the 2000s. The strain(s) are known to be resistant to doxycycline, azithromycin, and ofloxacin.
However, antibiotic resistant gonorrhea is more commonly diagnosed and has been on the medical community’s radar since the mid-eighties. The Center for Disease Control reports that in 2009, 23.5% of gonorrhea samples evaluated by the Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project (29 sites across the United States) were resistant to penicillin, tetracycline, ciprofloxacin, or some combination of these antibiotics.
Please, as a nurse and a single woman, I am urging you to protect yourself–use a condom with every partner. There is no way to know if My Date has had unprotected sex with your date or your date’s ex.
[Note: In the early 2000s, the term Sexually Transmitted Disease or STD was updated to Sexually Transmitted Infection or STI in an attempt to minimize stigma. The D in “Disease” has been changed to I for “Infection”].