Because gonorrhea is often confused with other ailments, it is important to make the correct diagnosis. Because coexisting chlamydia infections often accompany gonorrhea, health practitioners often use a treatment strategy that is effective against both. For a number of years the treatment regimen recommended by the CDC involved the dual therapy of a single dose of a fluoroquinolone antibiotic, such as ciprofloxacin, plus a sin­gle dose of azithromycin (or doxycycline for 7 days). Unfortunately, in recent years there has been an alarming worldwide increase in strains of gonorrhea resistant to fluoroqui­nolone antibiotics (Dowell et al., 2012). Consequently, the CDC now recommends that health professionals stop using fluoroquinolones and substitute a cephalosporin medi­cation (a different class of antibiotics, such as ceftriaxone) to treat gonorrhea infections.

Recent research has identified a new mutated strain of the gonococcus bacterium, HO41, that causes an infection that cannot be treated by available antibiotics, including cephalosporin-class antibiotics (Unemo et al., 2011). This alarming discovery suggests that a once easily treatable infection may become a global public health threat if this new drug-resistant strain becomes widespread (Bolan et al., 2012).

It is quite common for sexual partners of infected individuals to have also contracted gonorrhea. Consequently, all sexual partners exposed to a person with diagnosed gonor­rhea should be examined, cultured, and, if necessary, treated with a drug regimen that covers both gonococcal and chlamydia infections (Katz, 2011).