Antibiotics (also known as antibacterials) are used to treat or prevent bacterial infections. They work by either killing the bacteria or preventing them from reproducing and spreading. The development of antibiotics has been long and complicated. It wasn’t until the 1940s they were first used; their successful use has been one of the greatest advances in medicine.
However, now due to the overuse of antibiotics, there are some bacteria that are resistant (i.e. they don’t respond) to the antibiotics that worked in the past. It is important that you always use all the antibiotics you are given, even if you feel better as then the treatment is more likely to be successful. It also reduces the chances of the bacteria becoming resistant in the future.
Antibiotics are used to treat chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis, however some strains are now resistant to the antibiotics normally used to treat them, this means it will be more difficult to treat you if you get one of these strains.
Until recently the main way to avoid getting sexually stransmitted infections (STIs) and HIV was to either not to heve sex or to use condoms during sex. However, there are now concerns the sustained and widespread use of PrEP will see a reduction in condom use, resulting in an increase in STIs (other than HIV) at a time when the antibiotics used to treat some STIs no longer work.
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