Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV)

Lymphogranuloma Venereum (pronounced: lim foe gran you low muh – ven ear ee um), also called “Climatic Bubo,” “Durand-Nicolas-Favre Disease,” “Poradenitis Inguinale,” and “Strumous Bubo,” is a very rare but chronic (long-term) STD that infects the lymphatic system. Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV) is caused by a specific strain of bacterium Chlamydia Trachomatis (the same bacteria that causes Chlamydia). It is endemic (native) in certain parts of Africa, Southeast Asia, India, the Caribbean, and South America. Although it is rare in industrialized countries, in the last decade LGV has made its way to North America and Europe, causing the most outbreaks among men who have sex with men (aka MSM).

LGV can spread via oral, vaginal, anal sex, or skin to skin contact. The infection may begin as a painless ulcer or lesion that shows up 3 to 30 days after exposure. Many men and women do not notice this initial sore because it can be in a non-visible location like the inside of the mouth, rectum, urethra, or vagina. Within a few months symptoms usually worsen and may include:

  • Blood or pus from the rectum (blood in the stools).
  • Drainage through the skin from lymph nodes in the groin.
  • Painful bowel movements and/ or diarrhea.
  • Swelling and redness of the skin in the groin area.
  • Swollen labia (on women).
  • Swollen groin lymph nodes on one or both sides; it may also affect lymph nodes around the rectum in people who have anal intercourse.
  • Lower abdominal pain.

Click here to view photos of LGV on The STD Project’s site.

Because it can be spread from skin to skin contact, condoms and female condoms are only somewhat effective against LGV. As long as a person has lesions they are infectious. Like chlamydia, LGV is curable with antibiotics, specifically Tetracycline or Sulfamethoxazole. There can be complications though, especially if it is not treated right away. Untreated LGV may include enlargement and ulcerations of the external genitalia and lymphatic obstruction, which may lead to elephantiasis of the genitalia as well as:

  • Abnormal connections between the rectum and vagina, or oozing in the rectal area.
  • Brain inflammation (extremely rare).
  • Infections in the joints, eyes, heart, or liver.
  • Long-term inflammation and swelling of the genitals.
  • Scarring and narrowing of the rectum.

Detecting LGV may include a biopsy of the lymph node, a blood test for the bacteria that causes LGV, or a laboratory test to detect chlamydia. To find a location to get tested for LGV visit our resources page, or Google test centers in your area.

***This is a blog and the information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, nor is it meant to take the place of your personal physician’s advice.***