Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is an infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. A person can have LGV more than once in his or her life.
People infected with LGV do not always show symptoms. A person may be infected without knowing it.
If left untreated, LGV can develop in 3 stages:
Symptoms vary depending on the stage of infection.
Symptoms in the primary stage appear 3 to 30 days following transmission of the bacterium.
One or more painless lesions may appear where the bacterium entered the body:
These lesions often go unnoticed. They go away without treatment in a few days.
However, the bacterium remains in the body and can lead to complications.
Symptoms in the secondary stage appear 2 to 6 weeks after the lesions have gone away. These symptoms may include:
These symptoms may last several weeks or months.
If left untreated, LGV can cause serious damage. Symptoms in the tertiary stage appear 1 to 20 years after transmission of the bacterium in the form of major damage (such as deformities) to the genital or anal area.
If you have symptoms, or if you have had unprotected sex, consult a health-care professional or call Info-Santé 811.
LGV is treated with medication. When an infection is in the primary or secondary stage, treatment heals it completely. However, the damage caused in the tertiary stage can be permanent. People infected must be treated as soon as possible to avoid complications.
Medication to treat LGV is free for those infected and for their sexual partners. To receive medication, infected people and their partners must first get a prescription. They can then obtain medicine at a pharmacy upon presentation of their health insurance card.
Treatment requires a certain amount of time to heal the infection. During this period, the person is still contagious.
In order not to spread LGV or catch it again, the infected person and his or her partners must avoid having sex until they are healed.
Before having sex, the infected person and his or her partners must wait:
Also, they must wait until any symptoms are completely gone.
If they cannot wait, the infected person and his or her partners can use a condom. They may also use a sheet of latex to cover the vulva or anus during oral sex. This way, the mouth does not come into direct contact with the genitals. A sheet of latex can be made by unrolling a condom, cutting off both ends and then cutting it lengthwise.
People with LGV should inform their sexual partners immediately. This way:
If left untreated, LGV can lead to the following complications:
LGV also increases the risk of getting or spreading HIV.
An infected person can spread LGV even if he or she has no symptoms.
Sexual transmission can occur during:
Sexual transmission can occur in the absence of penetration, orgasm or ejaculation.
An infected mother can pass on LGV to her baby during childbirth. For further information, read the Sexually Transmitted and Blood-borne Infections (STBBIs) and Pregnancy page.
There is no vaccine to protect against LGV.
For the best protection against LGV, use a condom:
The use of a sheet of latex to cover the vulva or anus during oral sex lowers the risk of spreading LGV. It helps prevent direct contact between the mouth and the genitals. A sheet of latex can be made by unrolling a condom, cutting off both ends and then cutting it lengthwise.
Sex toys should not be shared. People who share sex toys can lower the risk of spreading LGV by covering them with a condom. They must change condoms after each partner.
The use of a latex glove lowers the risk of spreading LVG during fingering or fisting of the anus. The glove must be changed after each partner.
LGV is usually detected when there are symptoms. If you have symptoms, consult a health-care professional.
For more information, consult a health-care professional or call Info-Santé 811.
Last update: March 9, 2017 3:22 PM
The information on this website by no means replaces the advice of a health professional. If you have questions regarding your health, contact Info-Santé 811 or see a health professional.