Maine providers weigh in on CDC proposal to use antibiotics to prevent sexually transmitted diseases
This week, the U.S. CDC issued a proposed guideline for the use of antibiotics to prevent sexually transmitted infections in gay and bisexual men and transgender women.
The agency says there's evidence that prescribing doxycycline after unprotected sex can significantly reduce STIs in those populations.
Evelyn Kieltyka, senior vice president of programs and services at Maine Family Planning, says more tools are needed to prevent STIs. And even though this strategy has raised concerns about the overuse of antibiotics, prevention is critical as there's only one remaining drug that can cure gonorrhea.
"And so this theoretically could help increase the likelihood that ceftriaxone is going to last a little longer for us as an effective treatment," she says.
The U.S. CDC is seeing record high cases of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia. The Maine CDC says the rate of syphilis cases in the state increased by more than 400% from 2012 to 2021.
There's a 45-day comment period for the proposed guideline. The U.S. CDC says there are ongoing studies to determine whether using antibiotics to prevent STIs is also effective for heterosexual women.