A report from the World Health Organization shows that if someone contracts gonorrhea, it is now much harder to treat, and in some cases impossible.
Experts said the situation was “fairly grim” with few new drugs on the horizon.
About 78 million people pick up the STI each year and it can cause infertility.
The World Health Organization analyzed data from 77 countries which showed gonorrhea’s resistance to antibiotics was widespread.
Dr Teodora Wi, from the WHO, said there had even been three cases in Japan, France and Spain, where the infection was completely impossible to treat.
She said: “Gonorrhea is a very smart bug, every time you introduce a new class of antibiotics to treat gonorrhea, the bug becomes resistant.”
Worryingly, the vast majority of gonorrhea infections are in poor countries where resistance is harder to detect.
Gonorrhea can infect the genitals, rectum and throat, but it is the last that is most concerning health officials.
Dr Wi said antibiotics could lead to bacteria in the back of the throat, including relatives of gonorrhea, developing resistance.
She said: “When you use antibiotics to treat infections like a normal sore throat, this mixes with the Neisseria species in your throat and this results in resistance.”
Thrusting gonorrhea bacteria into this environment through oral sex can lead to super-gonorrhea.
“In the US, resistance to an antibiotic came from men having sex with men because of pharyngeal infection,” she added.
The disease is caused by the bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhea.
The infection is spread by unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex.
Symptoms can include a thick green or yellow discharge from sexual organs, pain when urinating and bleeding between periods.
However, of those infected, about one in 10 heterosexual men and more than three-quarters of women, and gay men, have no easily recognizable symptoms.
Untreated infection can lead to infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease and can be passed on to a child during pregnancy.
The World Health Organization is calling on countries to monitor the spread of resistant gonorrhea and to invest in new drugs.
But ultimately, the WHO said vaccines would be needed to stop gonorrhea.
Prof Richard Stabler, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “Ever since the introduction of penicillin, hailed as a reliable and quick cure, gonorrhea has developed resistance to all therapeutic antibiotics.
“In the past 15 years therapy has had to change three times following increasing rates of resistance worldwide.
“We are now at a point where we are using the drugs of last resort, but there are worrying signs as treatment failure due to resistant strains has been documented.”
Source: BBC news