Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV)

What is Lymphogranuloma Venereum?

Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV) is an infection caused by certain strains of chlamydia (types L1-L3). It can infect the genitals or anus and may spread to involve the lymph nodes (glands) of the genital area.

How is it transmitted?

LGV is transmitted from an infected person by unprotected anal or vaginal sex (sex without a condom). It can be acquired from someone even if they have no symptoms.

Who gets LGV?

While LGV is much less common than chlamydia, there are occasionally outbreaks among men who have sex with men (MSM).

What are the signs and symptoms?

When the anus is involved:
This is the most common presentation in men and women who have anal sex. Infection of the anus with LGV can cause pain in the anal canal, discharge or bleeding and the feeling of being unable to properly empty your bowels. The medical term for this is ‘proctitis’.
When the genitals are involved:
The first sign of infection is a pimple, blister or ulcer, which often goes unnoticed. In men it is usually on the penis. In women, it is in the vagina or on the cervix. The infection then spreads to the lymph nodes (glands) in the groin area. These glands become inflamed and swollen. People may feel generally unwell at this time.

How long until symptoms develop?

This can vary widely, but the first symptoms may appear 3-30 days after infection.

How do you test for LGV?

When LGV is suspected due to a positive chlamydia test and suggestive symptoms, the sample is then sent for subtyping. These results typically take a few weeks.

How is LGV treated?

LGV requires a longer course of antibiotics, typically 3 weeks. If LGV is suspected the doctor may suggest starting treatment before the result is available.

Should my sexual partners also be treated?

You need to tell all recent sexual partners that you have been diagnosed with LGV, so they can be tested and treated. If necessary, we can help you notify your partners.

How can I avoid becoming infected again?

By practicing safe sex, always using a condom.

This fact sheet is designed to provide you with information on Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV). It is not intended to replace the need for a consultation with your doctor. All clients are strongly advised to check with their doctor about any specific questions or concerns they may have. Every effort has been taken to ensure that the information in this pamphlet is correct at the time of printing.
Last Updated November 2017