There are at least 17 different types of Mycoplasma known to be present in humans. Mycoplasma genitalium or MG, known since 1981, is a bacterium which is believed to reside in the urinary and genital tract and is increasingly becoming considered as a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Although no widespread studies have yet been carried out, research published in the International Journal of Epidemiology was carried out in the UK with sexually active 16-44 year olds. The study showed that most people with MG were unaware they had an infection; “… the majority of men (94.4%), and over half of women (56.2%) with MG did not report any sexually transmitted infection (STI) symptoms.” It also suggested a connection with other STIs in that men with MG in their samples were “… more likely to report previously diagnosed gonorrhoea, syphilis or non-specific urethritis” and women who detected positive for the bacteria were more likely to report “previous trichomoniasis.”
Recent research in America has indicated that MG may also in some circumstances increase the risk of spreading HIV. The study refers to MG as “…a potential mechanism for enhanced HIV transmission to an uninfected partner”. According to the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center study “screening and treatment of M. genitalium among HIV-infected individuals may be warranted to […] improve cervical health, and reduce the spread of HIV.”
As well its associations with other STIs and HIV, MG is known to cause symptoms in some people such as discharge, itching or burning, and a painful sensation during urination. It can be treated and cured with antibiotics. Better2Know offers a simple urine test to indicate MG and the test is also included our Comfort, Full and Platinum Screens.
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NOTE: Mycoplasma genetalium is frequently referred to as MG which may cause some confusion as MG is also the name of a completely different condition causing muscle weakness (Myasthenia gravis). There are also other types of Mycoplasma that can affect different areas of the body. Keep checking the Better2Know blog for news about Mycoplasma, sexual health and STIs.