LGV ( Lymphogranuloma venereum) is a bacterial sexually transmitted infection, caused by a strain of Chlamydia Trachomatis. It can cause invasive disease, presenting with rectal ulceration and can be cured by a 3 week course of antibiotics. There has been a recent increase in the number of cases diagnosed in gay men, but there has alays been uncertainty about the risk factors. Although it can affect women it is less common
A recent study in the UK looked at this infecton and concluded that unprotected receptive anal sex, is the main risk factor for rectal LGV infections in gay men and in men who have sex with men (MSM). The study also revelaed that 89% of people with LGV were also HIV positive. Fisting and chem sex were also identified as risk factors. Other risk factors are rectal douching and multiple sex partners.

Symptoms of LGV start about 3 days to 3 weeks after infection. It usually starts with a painless ulcer or small lump, or groups of ulcers that look like herpes, usually in the rectal area. It can also cause symptoms of urethritis, such as pain when urinating and a penile discharge. The lesions can also appear on the penis. Local enlargement of lymph nodes with sinus or abscess formation is also possible.
After this the infection can progress to systemic symptoms, with enlarged lymph nodes, fever, headache and nausea. If undiagnosed and left untreated people can develop symptoms as late as 20 years after infection with rectal pain and discharge, a feeling of having to evacuate the bowels and thin stools.

LGV can cause serious illness and harm and if you have any symptoms that you are concerned about it is vital that you see a doctor familiar with sexual health issues and get yourself checked over. Treatment is very easy and certainly beats suffering from the above symptoms.