Lymphogranuloma Venereum | Signs, Symptoms & Treatment


Also known as climatic or tropical Bubo.

Although the name itself mirrors something from a Science Fiction movie, it is on the rise in SouthEast Asia. 

It is caused by a few different strains of chlamydia and the infection usually occur in the lymphatic system in the genital area. The bacteria can also be found in body fluids such as semen, pre-ejaculate, vaginal fluids, and anal fluids. LGV has been found in people all over the world, but it is more commonly seen in tropical and subtropical countries, most often in males who have sex with other men (MSM).

Anyone who has unprotected sex is at risk for lymphogranuloma venereum.


LGV is passed through vaginal, oral, and anal sexual contact.  This includes both penetrative sex and sexual activities where there is an exchange of body fluids.  You can also get LGV by sharing sex toys.  If you have LGV, you can pass it to others even if you don’t have symptoms.

Also read: Lymphogranuloma Venereum

Signs & Symptoms

It is common to not notice any symptoms with LGV.  If you do get symptoms, they will most likely show up between 3 to 30 days after sexual contact. 

LGV can cause fever, fatigue, and painless sores and swelling of the lymph nodes in the genital area. It can also lead to genital abscesses. If you have anal sex, there may be mucous discharge and bleeding from your anus. Occasionally, LGV can cause symptoms in the joints, lungs, and liver. 

Testing & Diagnosis

The diagnosis of LGV is based on symptoms, an exam of any sores or swelling, and a sexual history. Testing is usually done with a swab and a blood sample. It is best to get tested for LGV if you have symptoms or have a sexual partner who has tested positive for LGV.

Treatment Options

LGV is usually treated with an antibiotic called doxycycline which is taken twice a day for three weeks. Sometimes different antibiotics are used.

If left untreated, LGV can cause scarring and swelling of the skin. It can also cause permanent swelling of the genitals. Rectal infection can also cause swelling and scarring resulting in risk of long-term bowel complications. If your infection is untreated you may pass it onto other sexual partners. It is important to not have sex (even with a condom) for 3 weeks after starting treatment. If you do you have sex during this time, you could pass LGV to your sexual partners or get it again.  


If you are diagnosed with LGV, your sexual partners within the last two months should also be tested and treated.

It is a good idea to get tested regularly for STIs, especially if you have new sexual partners or open relationships.  Talking with partners about safer sex makes sure everyone knows what to expect.  Condoms are great if they work for you – the correct use of condoms reduces your chances of getting and passing LGV and other types of sexually transmitted infections.

If you need to more information about LGV or other types of STI, visit a health care provider near you.

STD Screening In Malaysia

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