Lymphogranuloma venereum

Definition

Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection.

Causes

Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is a long-term (chronic) infection of the lymphatic system. It is caused by any of 3 different types (serovars) of the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. The bacteria are spread by sexual contact. The infection is not caused by the same bacteria that cause genital chlamydia.

LGV is more common in Central and South America than in North America.

LGV is more common in men than women. The main risk factor is being HIV-positive.

Symptoms

Symptoms of LGV can begin a few days to a month after coming in contact with the bacteria. Symptoms include:

Exams and Tests

The health care provider will examine you and ask about your medical and sexual history. Tell your provider if you had sexual contact with someone you think has had symptoms of LGV.

A physical exam may show:

Tests may include:

Treatment

LGV is treated with antibiotics, including doxycycline and erythromycin.

Outlook (Prognosis)

With treatment, the outlook is good.

Possible Complications

Health problems that may result from LGV infection include:

Complications can occur many years after you are first infected.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if:

Prevention

Not having any sexual activity is the only way to prevent a sexually transmitted infection. Safer sex behaviors may reduce the risk.

The proper use of condoms, either the male or female type, greatly decreases the risk of catching a sexually transmitted infection. You need to wear the condom from the beginning to the end of each sexual activity.


Review Date: 9/27/2017
Reviewed By: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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