What is LGV?

LGV stands for ‘lymphogranuloma venereum’, a type of chlamydia that has become more common in MSM since the early 2000’s. It is usually more severe than other types of chlamydia.

How does someone get LGV?

You can catch LGV by having unprotected anal, oral or vaginal sex, rimming, fingering or sharing sex toys with someone who has the infection. In Ireland, a high number of men diagnosed with LGV are also living with HIV – however you don’t have to be HIV positive to have LGV.

If you experience any of the symptoms below, arrange a check-up with at your nearest sexual health clinic.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms often develop around three days to three weeks after sexual contact. In MSM, it is mostly seen in the rectum but can include:

  • Anus: Rectal inflammation, pain, discharge and blood. You may feel like you need to open your bowels all the time. Constipation or diarrhoea may also occur.
  • Penis: Painless blisters/sores, discharge, swelling in the groin area.
  • Mouth: Sore throat, swollen glands in the neck.

What does treatment involve?

Treatment is with antibiotics for three weeks. Usually there are no lasting effects, as long as the infection is treated early enough.

You will be advised not to have sex (even oral sex and sex with condoms), until after you (and your partner) have finished the treatment and you have no symptoms. It’s really important that you don’t have sex with your partner before they are tested and treated as you could become infected again.

You will be asked to return for another test after your treatment to confirm you have cleared the infection.