• LGV is a sexually transmitted infection.
  • LGV stands for lymphogranuloma venereum.
  • You can get LGV through having sex.
  • LGV is an infection caused by bacteria called chlamydia (though it is not chlamydia).
  • LGV is not very common.

However, more people, especially gay men, are catching LGV in the UK in recent years.

Both men and women can get LGV.

LGV is easy to test for and easy to treat with a course of tablets. LGV can lead to serious health problems if it is not treated.

Signs and symptoms

Some people do not notice the signs or symptoms at first. The symptoms come in three stages.

Stage 1 happens up to a few weeks after you catch LGV when:

  • Men can get a sore around their penis or around their anus.
  • Women can get a sore in their vagina or around their anus or around the mouth.

Stage 2 is 30 days or more after stage 1 when men and women can get:

  • Drops of white liquid coming from the penis or vagina (a discharge).
  • Bad pains in the anus and problems defecating (pooing).
  • Swelling and bad pain around the genitals (vagina or penis).
  • Swollen glands around the throat, neck or armpit.

LGV can be treated easily before getting to Stage 3 and will leave no major health problems. If it is not treated LGV can go on to Stage 3 when you can get very ill.

  • You can get swellings in your body and serious damage to your genitals and anus.

How do you catch LGV?

You can catch LGV by having sex with someone who already has LGV. They may not know they have LGV. You can catch it by having unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex (sex without a condom). More unusually it can be passed on during sex by skin to skin contact.

How do you protect yourself against LGV?

Using a condom is the best way to protect yourself from getting LGV.

When you use a condom remember to:

  • Not use a condom that is past its ‘use by’ date, which is written on the packet.
  • Use a new condom each time you have sex.
  • Put a condom on before your genitals (penis and vagina) touch

Condoms come in all shapes and sizes, so find the best one for you. You can get infected with LGV again, so using a condom will help stop this happening. You can get more than one sexually transmitted infection at the same time.

Condoms can protect you from most sexually transmitted infections and help avoid pregnancy.

If you think you may have LGV you can go to a sexual health clinic for a check up. You can ring for an appointment or sometimes drop in. At the clinic they will give you a simple test. If you have LGV you will be given a course of antibiotics which will cure it.

Sexual health clinics are confidential, so staff cannot tell anyone you have visited the clinic without your permission unless they believe you or someone else is in serious danger.

Try telling your boyfriend or girlfriend if you think you have LGV. If you do have LGV it is very important you tell them so you both get treatment. All tests and treatment at sexual health clinics are free.

For more information on sexual health (including HIV), call the Sexual Health Line free (from the UK) on 0800 567 123, textphone (for people with hearing impairments) 0800 521 361 or phone your local NHS sexual health clinic. Or check out the websites: www.ruthinking.co.uk or www.playingsafely.co.uk.