LGV: A new sexually transmitted infection

What is LGV?

LGV stands for 'lymphogranuloma venereum'. It's a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a certain type of chlamydia bacteria. It's started to spread among gay men so we need to be looking out for it.

It’s common in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. There have been outbreaks among gay men in some European cities; some gay men in the United States and Canada were also diagnosed with LGV beginning in 2005. More specifically, there are now cases in Ontario.

The bacteria get into someone’s body through the warm moist skin of the mouth, cock or inside of the ass. Fucking without condoms and fisting without gloves are the easiest way this happens. Using things like dildos on more than one man's ass can spread LGV too.

So far the infection’s been seen mostly in gay men who:

What Happens if I get LGV?

The infection has three major stages.

Three days to three weeks after getting infected there may be a small, painless sore where the bacteria got into your mouth, cock, or inside your ass. Many people don’t get a sore of don’t notice it. You will be able to give LGV to others from this point.

10-30 days later (or even longer) your glands may become painfully swollen. You may feel ill and have a fever.

LGV in the ass – you can get painful inflammation in your ass (called ‘proctitis’) and blood or pus coming from it. Shitting may be painful, you might get constipated or develop painful abscesses/ulcers in your ass.

LGV in the cock – You might get a discharge, the glands in your groin can swell – so much that they might push through your skin and leak fluid.

LGV in the mouth – If infected through the mouth or throat, glands in your neck or armpit may swell.

Other symptoms may include:
· Chills
· Headache
· Joint pain
· Loss of appetite

Left untreated LGV can later go on to cause serious complications. These can happen years after the first infection. Haemorrhoid-like growths can appear, your cock and balls can swell massively and the inside of your ass can be seriously damaged; you may need to have surgery.

Most symptoms of the first two stages can be easily missed.

As long as it's treated before it gets to the third stage, LGV is quickly cured with 3 weeks of antibiotics and leaves no lasting damage.

How can I protect myself?

There's no vaccine and if you've had LGV once you can get it again. Condoms reduce the chances of getting LGV, as do latex gloves during fisting. If several men are being fucked or fisted in the same session, condoms and gloves should be changed with each man (to stop the infection being spread from man to man). Dildos, anal beads, etc. should not be used on more than one ass in one sex session – or should be covered with a condom that can be changed with each ass it’s used on.

If you have LGV, samples will test positive for chlamydia but more tests will be needed to be sure if you have LGV and not the more common type of chlamydia. Blood tests for the bacteria may also help to further diagnose infection. A check-up is crucial if you have any symptoms of inflammation inside your ass – or in your cock, mouth or throat. Sex should be avoided until you’ve been checked.

What else is there to know?

Having LGV makes it easier for you to become infected by HIV and to pass on HIV to your partner because of the bleeding and skin damage LGV causes. It also puts you at increased risk for other STIs (such as syphilis), and other infections like Hepatitis B and C which can cause serious liver disease.

Be sure to recognize this “New Face On The Scene” and get tested. Contact your local public health department/sexual health clinic to find out where you can be tested for LGV.
Download the brochure!

LGV Brochure.pdf1752 (Kbytes)