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Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection.
LGV; Lymphogranuloma inguinale; Lymphopathia venereum
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 through 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.
The health care provider will perform a physical examination and ask questions about your medical history. It is important to tell your doctor if you had sexual contact with someone who has had lymphogranuloma venereum.
A physical exam may show:
Tests may include:
This condition can be cured with the right antibiotics. 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:
Abstaining from sexual activity is the only absolute way to prevent a sexually transmitted disease. 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 disease. You need to wear the condom from the beginning to the end of each sexual activity.
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, HIV infections. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 22.
Workowski KA, Berman S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Workowski KA, Berman SM. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines 2010. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2010 Dec 17;59:1-110.