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Facts About...

LYMPHOGRANULOMA VENEREUM (LGV)


What is it?

LGV is a serious sexually transmitted infection, caused by a specific strain of Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria, which most often infects the lymph glands in the genital area.

LGV is a reportable disease and must be reported to the Health Department.

How is it spread?

People who engage in high risk sexual activity, and men who have sex with men, are at an increased risk of getting LGV. It is spread from person to person through direct contact with the bacteria during unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sex.

What do I look for?

Symptoms of LGV can appear 3 to 30 days after being infected. The first symptom may be a small, painless bump on the skin of the vagina, penis, rectum, cervix, or mouth where the bacteria enter. It often goes unnoticed and heals quickly. If untreated, the infection then spreads to the lymph nodes in the infected area. In the second phase, symptoms of fever, chills, diarrhea, stomach pain, tiredness, muscle or joint aches, and swelling of lymph nodes often occur. When infection occurs through anal sex, symptoms may include rectal discharge, anal pain, constipation, and blood or pus from the rectal area.

How is it treated?

LGV is treated with antibiotics taken by mouth for 3 weeks. It is important to take all the prescribed antibiotics even if symptoms of LGV are no longer present.

How can I protect myself?

LGV can be spread to other sexual partners as soon as you become infected. Some people who do not have symptoms can spread it to others without knowing. Sexual partners from the last 60 days, prior to symptoms starting, should be notified. They will need treatment. If you prefer, a nurse from the Health Department can contact your partner(s). Your name will be kept private.

A Test of Cure should be performed 3 to 4 weeks after finishing the antibiotics to be sure the infection is gone. You can have sex again only when you and your partner(s) have finished the treatment and your doctor/health care provider says you are no longer infectious.

Use condoms with lubricant during oral, anal, and vaginal sex to lower the chance of infection. Latex gloves should be used for fisting and condoms should be used with all sex toys.

June 24, 2016