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Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV)

Chlamydia trachomatis - LGV strainLymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is a sexually transmitted infection involving the lymph glands in the genital area.  It is caused by a specific strain ofChlamydia trachomatis that is usually rare in Canada.  LGV is treatable with antibiotics.

For more information on symptoms, causes, treatments and prevention see the Overview section.

Information for Health Professionals

Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is a sexually transmitted infection involving the lymph glands in the genital area. It is caused by a specific strain of chlamydia that is usually rare in Canada; however, it is becoming more common in men who have sex with men.


LGV can cause open sores in the genital area, swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin accompanied by fever and fatigue.  Most recent cases have presented with proctitis (inflammation of the rectal walls), often with bloody discharge.  Although affects to the groin lymph glands are different in both men and women, swelling of the genitals (elephantiasis) may occur in either sex.  The later stage, more common in females, may cause swelling of the genitals and destruction of the genital tissues.

The time from infection to the development of the genital sore is 3 - 30 days. Proctitis symptoms or buboes (swelling of the lymph glands at the top of the legs) may occur 2 - 10 weeks from the time of infection. 


LGV is caused by a type of Chlamydia trachomatis that is specific to LGV known as Chlamydia trachomatis serotypes L1, L2, L3.  These are more invasive and affect the lymph system.


In men, there may be swelling of the lymph glands at the top of the legs (buboes) and those may break open and drain pus and later on scarring may result.

In women, the lymph glands in the pelvis are more frequently involved and this may result in strictures (closing off) of the rectum, or fistulae (openings) between the vagina and rectum.  In women there may be destruction of the genital tissues.


LGV is diagnosed by testing suspicious sores or taking a rectal swab (in the case of proctitis) for Chlamydia.  If the Chlamydia test is positive this specimen is sent for further special testing for the specific types of Chlamydia bacteria (serovar L1, L2, L3) that cause LGV.


LGV is treatable by a health care provider with antibiotics and draining of the buboes. 

Sexual partners should be examined, tested and treated if they have had sex with an infected person in the 60 days before the start of symptoms in the infected person.


You can reduce your risk of spreading or becoming infected with LGV by practicing safe sex.

  • Use condoms.
  • Avoid sexual contact if you have symptoms of an STI or are being treated for an STI.
  • Get tested regularly for STIs if you are having new partners because your risk for an STI increases if you have several sex partners.
SOURCE: Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV) ( )
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