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CDC proposes new type of morning after pill to combat sexually transmitted infections

CDC proposes new type of "morning after pill" to protect against sexually transmitted infections
CDC proposes new type of "morning after pill" to protect against sexually transmitted infections 01:48

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The CDC is proposing the first morning after pill to protect against sexually transmitted infections.

The morning after pill is usually associated with preventing pregnancy. Now, an antibiotic has been shown to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections.

New draft guidelines from the CDC would use an inexpensive antibiotic as a morning after pill to try to prevent sexually transmitted infections or STIs

"We're at a record high number of STIs in the nation and we need game changing innovations," said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, Director of the CDC's National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. 

Doxycycline is commonly used to treat bacterial infections. The CDC said growing research shows some people who take the antibiotic within 72 hours of having unprotected sex are much less likely to contract an STI.  

"In several studies that's been shown to reduce the chance of getting an STI by about two-thirds," Dr. Mermin said. 

Cases of STIs are increasing. The CDC says between 2020 and 2021 more than 2.5 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were reported. 


"Sexually transmitted infections also increase the chance that someone will get or transmit HIV. So any innovation that prevents STIs could also have an effect by preventing HIV infections as well," Dr. Mermin said. 

The draft guidelines would be for gay and bisexual men and transgender women — groups most impacted by the higher infection numbers.

The CDC said it's also monitoring whether more use of the antibiotic could result in more drug-resistant bacteria. The final approval of this treatment is expected after 45 days of public comment. Doctors say this could be very helpful. 

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