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.
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.
Symptoms often develop around three days to three weeks after sexual contact. In MSM, it is mostly seen in the rectum but can include:
If you’re a man who has sex with men and you have possible LGV symptoms, a sexual health clinic will use a swab to take a samples, for example from your rectum. The samples are initially tested for chlamydia. If it tests ‘positive’ it is then also tested for the chlamydia type that causes LGV.
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.