Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)

Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is caused by serotypes L1, L2 and L3 of Chlamydia trachomatis and is sexually transmitted. It can be transmitted through unprotected vaginal, oral and anal intercourse.

Pathogen and transmission

Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is caused by serotypes L1, L2 and L3 of Chlamydia trachomatis (in the majority of cases by the gene variant L2b) and is sexually transmitted. LGV is very rare in the general population. An epidemic recurrence of LGV has recently been observed in men who have sex with men (MSM), mainly in HIV-positive MSM. LGV can be transmitted through unprotected vaginal, oral and anal intercourse.

Clinical picture

Infections with LGV are frequently asymptomatic. If the infection is symptomatic, painless ulcers appear in a primary stage where the bacteria entered the mucosa and, depending on the area, often remain undetected. In the second stage the lymph nodes usually swell up, accompanied by pains and fever as well as bleeding and purulent discharge. In the absence of timely treatment, the infection can cause severe lesions in the anus or another affected body part which require surgical intervention. The infection can be treated with antibiotics.

Frequency and distribution

In recent decades LGV has principally been observed in the subtropical and tropical regions of Africa, India, South East Asia, the Caribbean as well as Central and South America. Since 2003, Western high-income countries, including Switzerland, have experienced an epidemic recurrence of LGV in MSM.

Prevention

If you have changing or multiple sexual partners during the same time period, talk to your doctor or another specialist about sexually transmitted infections (including HIV) and get advice on whether tests may be necessary, and if so, which ones.

In case of an infection, www.lovelife.ch provides tips on how to inform your partner.

And for everyone having sex:

Because everybody likes it differently: do the personalised Safer Sex Check at www.lovelife.ch

Further Information

National Programme for HIV and Other Sexually Transmitted Infections (NPHS)

The NPHS aims to reduce the number of new infections with HIV and other STIs and to avoid consequences with an adverse effect on health. Information on the programme can be found here.

Last modification 22.11.2019

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