LGV is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a certain type of chlamydia bacteria. It's started to spread amongst gay men, so everyone needs to look out for it.
LGV is caused by a rare type of chlamydia bacteria that attacks the lymph glands and is cured with antibiotics.
Symptoms may not always be noticeable, or may be mistaken for another condition; however there are three stages to LGV, with different symptoms depending on what part of the body is infected.
Three days to three weeks after getting infected a small, painless sore might appear in your mouth or anus, or on your penis. Many people don't get a sore or don’t notice one.
Ten to 30 days later (or longer) your glands may become painfully swollen and you may feel ill and feverish. If you get infected in the anus you can get painful inflammation, ulcers and discharge there. If the infection is in your penis you may get a discharge and the glands in your groin can swell. An infection in the mouth may cause the glands in your neck or armpit to swell.
If it is left untreated for a long time, LGV can cause serious lasting damage to your anus and penis that may need surgery.
Men with lots of sexual partners are more at risk. Unprotected anal sex and oral sex, or fisting without using latex gloves are the main ways the infection is spread. Using sex toys, like dildos, on more than one person can also spread the bacteria.
If you think you may have LGV you can go to your nearest GUM clinic. You can also see your local GP.
By law, a sexual health clinic cannot tell anyone about your visit to the GUM; these rules do not apply to your GP who can tell other people about your appointment.
A urine sample or an anal swab from the affected area is tested for chlamydia. If positive, further tests are done to look for LGV.
If you have inflammation in your anus, a check up is essential and you should avoid having sex until the doctor or clinic tells you that it’s alright.
Three or more weeks of antibiotics can cure LGV if it is treated before stage three. No one is immune to LGV; if you have had it, you can get it again.
You can reduce the risk of getting LGV if you use condoms, and use latex gloves for fisting. If you share sex toys, cover them with a fresh condom for each person they're used on. You can order free safer sex packs, latex gloves and dental dams from Trade here.