Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV)

(caused by 3 subtypes of Chlamydia trachomatis, a bacteria)

NOTE: LGV is rare in the U.S. If you have signs or symptoms of any sexually transmitted disease you should see a health care provider for evaluation and possible treatment. Suspect cases of LGV should be coordinated by the MDH Public Health Laboratory to facilitate submission of diagnostic specimens. Please contact (651) 201-5257 for further information.

Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a type of chlamydia trachomatis (serovars L1, L2, or L3) that rarely occurs in the United States and other industrialized countries. However, recent outbreaks of LGV have been reported among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Europe and other U.S. cities. If you have signs or symptoms of any sexually transmitted disease you should see a health care provider for evaluation and possible treatment.

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On this page:
Signs and Symptoms
Transmission
Complications
Prevention
Testing and Treatment
For More Information

Signs and Symptoms

Early stage LGV symptoms:

  • Begin 3–12 days or longer after exposure
  • Early symptoms often go unnoticed or never occur
  • Soft red, painless sore or lesion that forms on or near the genitals or anus
  • Sores can also occur in the throat or mouth from oral sex
  • The sore heals rapidly in a few days

Later stage LGV symptoms:

  • Begin 2–6 weeks or longer after primary lesion
  • Swollen lymph glands on one or both sides of the groin
  • Pain during urination or when passing stools
  • Constipation
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Pain in lower abdomen or back
  • Pus-filled or bloody diarrhea
  • Fever, chills, joint pain, decreased appetite and tiredness

Transmission

LGV is spread by:

  • Vaginal sex
  • Oral sex
  • Anal sex

Complications

If left untreated, LGV can:

  • Spread to sex partners.
  • Cause severe scarring and deformed genitals.
  • Cause scarring of rectum causing narrowing.
  • In women, create an opening between the vagina and anus (fistula).
  • Cause brain inflammation (very rare).

Prevention

  • Avoiding vaginal, oral or anal sex is the best way to prevent STDs.
  • Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the risk of transmission of LGV.
  • Always use latex condoms during vaginal and anal sex.
  • Use a latex condom for oral sex on a penis.
  • Use a latex barrier (dental dam or condom cut in half) for oral sex on a vagina or anus.
  • Limit the number of sex partners.
  • Notify sex partners immediately if infected.
  • Make sure partners are tested and treated.

Testing and Treatment

  • Get a test from a medical provider if infection is suspected.
  • LGV can be cured using medication prescribed by medical provider.
  • Partners should be treated at same time.

NOTE: A person can be re-infected after treatment.

For More Information, Contact:

For more information, contact:

STD and HIV Section
Minnesota Department of Health
(651) 201-5414

Minnesota Family Planning and STD Hotline Attention: Non-MDH link
1-800-783-2287 Voice/TTY; (651) 645-9360 (Metro)

American Social Health Association (ASHA)
Attention: Non-MDH link

CDC National STD and AIDS Hotlines
Attention: Non-MDH link

1-800-CDC-INFO; 1-888-232-6348 TTY
1-800-344-7432 (Spanish)

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Updated Tuesday, 26-Mar-2013 13:57:56 CDT