Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection.
Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is a chronic (long-term) infection of the lymphatic system caused by three different types of the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. The bacteria 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. Every year, a few hundred cases of LGV are diagnosed in the United States. However, the actual number of infections is unknown.
LGV is more common in men than women. The main risk factor is being HIV-positive.
Symptoms of LGV can begin a few days to a month after coming in contact with the bacteria. Symptoms include:
The infection can cause diarrhea and lower abdominal pain.
Your doctor or nurse will examine you and ask questions about your medical and sexual history. Always tell your health care provider if you had sexual contact with someone who has had lymphogranuloma venereum.
A physical exam may show:
Tests may include:
Antibiotics that are commonly prescribed to treat LGV include tetracycline, doxycycline, erythromycin, and azithromycin.
With treatment, the outlook is good.
Complications can occur many years after you are first infected.
Call your health care provider if:
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.
LGV; Lymphogranuloma inguinale; Lymphopathia venereum
Stamm WE, Batteiger BE. Chlamydia trachomatis (trachoma, perinatal infections, lymphogranuloma venereum, and other genital infections). In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 180.
Eckert LO, Lentz GM. Infections of the lower genital tract: vulva, vagina, cervix, toxic shock syndrome, endometritis, and salpingitis. In: Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Katz VL, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 23.
Workowski KA, Berman S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines 2010. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2010 Dec 17;59:1-110.
Updated 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. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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