LGV: the STI you probably haven’t heard of

LGV (lymphogranuloma venerum) is an STI that you might not have heard of. It’s not part of a standard STI screening test and it's not as common as other infections like chlamydia and gonorrhoea. So it’s not talked about as much.

But it is an STI that mostly affects men, so we wanted to talk about it during Men’s Health Awareness Month.

Facts about LGV

  • It’s rare in the UK but cases are being found in gay and bisexual men.

  • In recent years, nearly all infections diagnosed in the UK have been found in the rectum (bottom).

  • LGV is caused by a type of chlamydia bacteria. It can infect the genitals, anus, rectum, throat or lymph glands.

  • If your chlamydia test comes back negative, you do not need to get tested for LGV.

  • LGV gets passed on through anal sex without a condom or fisting. The bacteria can also travel on toys, fingers and enema equipment.

  • Like with other STIs, the best way to prevent LGV is to use condoms and other barriers during sex. Make sure that any toys or hands that move from one anus to another get a new condom or cover for each person.

  • Symptoms of LGV in the rectum start with painful inflammation in that area. There might be pus, bleeding or ulcers and you can also get constipated.

  • You could also experience a fever and rash or swelling in your groin, armpits or neck.

  • It can be treated with antibiotics and have no long-term effects. But if left untreated, it can cause damage to the rectum

  • Testing for LGV is done with a rectal swab sample. These tests are not available in our at-home test kits.

  • If you have symptoms contact a sexual health clinic

Find out more about chlamydia and get your at-home test now.

Written by Hel Burrough. Senior Content Designer, SH:24 and Fettle
Reviewed by Helen Burkitt. Senior Sexual Health and Contraception Nurse
Last updated at: 02 February 2024
Published on: 14 November 2023