Lymphogranuloma Venereum

What is Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV)?

Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the Chlamydia trachomatis bacterium. It's categorized as one of three specific serovars (strains) of the C. trachomatis bacteria, and is usually found in areas of the world where rates of sexually transmitted infections are high. It's a rare infection in the United States.

When LGV is contracted through sexual contact, it may remain asymptomatic for several weeks or months. However, if left untreated it may cause inflammation in the lymph nodes in and around the genitals, which can result in pain, swelling, and the development of lesions in nearby locations. LGV can also spread into other parts of the body, affecting other organs.

Symptoms of LGV

The symptoms of LGV may include:

  • Painful genital sores, lesions or bumps.
  • Swelling in the lymph nodes in the groin (inguinal lymphadenopathy).
  • Mild fever and chills.
  • Pain during urination.
  • Painful intercourse.
  • General fatigue.
  • Painful or swollen testicles.
  • Discolouration of the skin in the affected area.

Diagnosis and Treatment of LGV

If a doctor suspects that a patient may have LGV, they may order a blood test or take a swab of the affected area to determine if C. trachomatis bacteria is present. In most cases, LGV is treated with antibiotics, including azithromycin or doxycycline, for up to four weeks.

It is important to consider that LGV can result in long-term complications if left untreated. These may include genital scarring, infertility, or lymphatic damage.

Prevention of LGV

The infection is spread through sexual contact, so it is important to reduce the risk of infection through safe sexual practices. This includes using condoms and limiting the number of sexual partners.

It is also important for those with LGV to inform their sexual partners so that they can also receive medical treatment. This is especially important if symptoms do not appear until months later, as untreated LGV can lead to serious health complications.