Behind the news headlines: Mycoplasma genitalium (MG)

What is Mycoplasma genitalium (MG)?

Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) was first identified in 1980. It is a bacterium that colonizes the male and female reproductive tract. There is increasing evidence that M. genitalium is a sexually transmitted disease. People who have M. genitalium are often asymptomatic (have no symptoms).

What conditions, if any, are commonly associated with MG?

It may be associated with acute and chronic urethritis in men. Existing data on infection in women are limited and inconsistent, but suggest that M. genitalium is associated with urethritis, cervicitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and possibly female infertility. There are no reliable conclusions regarding the role of M. genitalium in adverse pregnancy outcomes and ectopic pregnancy. Further research is needed in this area.

What tests or treatments are available for MG?

There is currently no commercially available test for M. genitalium. The antibiotic azithromycin is suggested as treatment but azithromycin-resistant infections have been reported in three continents, and the proportion of azithromycin-resistant M. genitalium infection is unknown.

Why is MG in the news now?

The International Journal of Epidemiology has just published a cross-sectional study investigating the relationship between sexual activity and MG. There were no cases of MG in people who had never had sex; the infection was seen in about 1% of sexually active participants. It was more common in those who had had more partners, or reported having more unprotected sex. (1)

What can you do to protect yourself against MG?

The safest way to protect yourself against this infection is to use a condom when you have sex.

References:

1. News source: The Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/science/sifting-the-evidence/2015/nov/15/q-and-a-sti-mycoplasma-genitalium-mg