These days, though, a new strain of the disease has a more comprehensible moniker: so-called super gonorrhea, which scientists think will soon be totally incurable.
Why don't the drugs work?
Gonorrhea may be nearly as old as civilization, but it's only been subjected to antibiotics since the 1930s. In the ensuing decades, it has developed immunity to many of them, and if the trend continues, it's likely that gonorrhea will effectively be an untreatable disease.
Take penicillin, for example, which was an effective treatment up until the 1960s. At that time, scientists observed that a few strains of gonorrhea had begun manufacturing an enzyme called penicillinase, which renders penicillin useless. Then, in the 1980s, strains of gonorrhea that did not make penicillinase also became resistant to penicillin -- by other means, such as chromosomal mutations.
So, in 1986, the CDC began monitoring antibiotic resistance in gonorrhea.
By 2010, almost 30% of the samples analyzed were resistant to the following antibiotics: penicillin, tetracycline, and ciprofloxacin (or some combo thereof), which means whole swaths of medicine that used to clear up the clap just fine now simply… don't work. At all.