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About LGV

Lymphogranulomatosis venereum (LGV) is an infection caused by a bacterium in the chlamydia trachomatis family. It can occur more than once in a lifetime.

If you have had risky, unprotected sex, you should see your health care professional for testing.

Why get tested?

This infection is difficult to diagnose because the majority of people infected with LGV have no symptoms and therefore do not seek medical attention.

However, some symptoms may be present, depending on the stage of the disease.

The search for Lymphogranulomatosis venereum (LGV) by genotyping is carried out in the context of a positive Chlamydia trachomatis result from an anorectal sample. If you have symptoms of LGV, we invite you to make an appointment with a healthcare professional.

Signs and symptoms

The majority of people with LGV have no symptoms. However, some symptoms may be present, depending on the stage of the disease:

  1. Primary stage

    (3 to 30 days after transmission): 

    • The appearance of one or more painless chancres (ulcer-like lesions) where the bacteria have entered the body (mouth, throat, urethra, vagina, cervix, rectum, anus). They often go unnoticed.¬†

    • The lesion(s) usually disappear after a few days, without treatment¬†

    • However, the disappearance of the chancres does not indicate a cure. The individual carrying the LGV can still transmit it even after the lesions have resolved.¬†

  2. Secondary stage

    (2-6 weeks after lesion resolution):

    Onset of the following symptoms, which may last from several weeks to several months: 

    • Fever, chills or fatigue¬†

    • Muscle or joint pain¬†

    • Bloody discharge or discharge that contains pus from the anus¬†

    • Tender or swollen nodes in the groin or neck¬†

    • Pus draining from the groin or neck nodes¬†

    • Constipation¬†

  3. Tertiary stage

    (1 to 20 years after transmission):

    If left untreated, the LGV can cause significant permanent damage: 

    • Genital deformity

    • Perforation or narrowing of the vagina, colon or rectum¬†

    • Swelling of the genitals due to obstruction of the lymphatic vessels¬†

    • Discharge of blood or pus¬†

    • Liver or joint inflammation

Transmission

  • Oral sex (contact of the mouth with the penis, vulva, vagina or anus)¬†

  • Vaginal intercourse (penetration of the penis into the vagina)¬†

  • Anal intercourse (penetration of the penis into the anus)¬†

  • Contact between genitals¬†

  • Sharing sex toys¬†

  • Mother-to-baby transmission at birth¬†


Window or incubation period (time interval before the disease is detectable) 

  • From 10 days to 6 weeks

Prevention 

The main protection against chlamydia is the use of condoms. A condom must be used during all genital contact and every time you have oral, vaginal or anal sex. 

Using a latex square to cover the vulva or anus during oral sex is also a reliable means of protection. To make a latex square, simply unroll a condom, cut off the ends and cut lengthwise. 

It is also recommended that sex toys not be shared or be covered with a condom whenever possible, changing the condom between partners. 

Treatment

  • Because LGV is a bacterial infection, it is treated with antibiotics, which must be used for about 3 weeks.¬†

    Since the infected individual can transmit the disease even during treatment, it is important to avoid sexual intercourse during treatment and for the next 7 days. If sex cannot be avoided during this period, it is important to use a condom. 

    Following diagnosis, it is also recommended that sexual partners be contacted so that they too can be tested and treated if necessary. This will help break the chain of transmission of the disease.