Doctors are warning of a new sexually-transmitted superbug that they say could ultimately prove more deadly than AIDS.
The antibiotic-resistant strain of gonorrhea HO41 was reportedly discovered in Japan two years ago in a 31-year-old female sex worker.
"This might be a lot worse than AIDS in the short run because the bacteria is more aggressive and will affect more people quickly," Alan Christianson, a doctor of naturopathic medicine, recently told CNBC. "Getting gonorrhea from this strain might put someone into septic shock and death in a matter of days. This is very dangerous."
Reportedly added William Smith, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors: "It's an emergency situation. As time moves on, it's getting more hazardous."
According to CNBC, Smith urged Congressional lawmakers as late as last week to allocate additional funding - $54 million - to develop an antibiotic capable of fighting HO41, as well as to conduct a public awareness campaign.
"I'm hopeful we'll get the additional funds, but I can't say for sure," Smith reportedly said. "What I do know is we don't have the resources to fight this as it stands now."
"People need to practice safe sex, like always," Christianson told CNBC. "Anyone beginning a new relationship should get tested along with their partner. The way gonorrhea works, not everyone knows they have it. And with this new strain it's even more important than ever to find out. "