LGV - Lymphogranuloma venereum



  • Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is a rare condition in Australia but an increase has been observed in men who have sex with men (MSM), many of whom have also been HIV positive
  • These men usually present with symptoms of proctitis
  • LGV among MSM is common in North Europe and North America, and is endemic in the general population in several tropical areas such as South-East Asia, Southern Africa and India.


LGV is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, serovars L1-3 (Non-LGV genital chlamydia is caused by the other serovars D-K)

Clinical presentation

Male Female
  • small ulcer/nodule on penis/anus (may go unnoticed)
  • proctitis
  • small ulcer/nodule on vulva/anus (may go unnoticed)
  • proctitis
  • inguino-femoral lymph node swelling and/or discharge (Bubo), +/- erythema
  • inguino-femoral lymph node swelling and/or discharge (Bubo), +/- erythema
  • chronic proctitis, fistulae, strictures, genital oedema
  • chronic proctitis, fistulae, strictures, genital oedema, scarring of vulva (Esthiomene)
Long term tertiary sequelae are rarely seen in Australia, but may occur with chronic untreated infection.

See STI Altas for images.

Special considerations

The site of the primary lesion depends on the site of inoculation. Proctitis is characterised by rectal pain, bleeding, rectal discharge, tenesmus and changed bowel habit. LGV in Australia is usually symptomatic, hence routine screening of asymptomatic patients is not recommended.


Diagnosis in males
Chlamydia NAAT
(Initial test; in patients with proctitis symptoms)
Rectal swab   Clinician collected or
self-collected rectal swab.

Write on request form “Proctitis: NAAT. If chlamydia positive please send for LGV testing

LGV specific NAAT
(Subsequent test performed on positive rectal chlamydia test in symptomatic MSM)

Performed on same rectal sample collected for initial test

Ensure laboratory have sent positive chlamydia samples from MSM with   proctitis for LGV typing to local reference laboratory.
Chlamydia NAAT
(Initial test to investigate ulcer)

Swab from ulcers

Clinician collected viral transport swab rolled directly over lesion.

Chlamydia NAAT is not a routine test for genital ulceration and should only be   performed in those with high clinical suspicion of LGV.
MSM – Men who have sex with men 
NAAT – Nucleic Acid Amplification Test 
LGV – Lymphogranuloma venereum
Diagnosis in females

LGV is a very uncommon infection in women in Australia. If suspected, referral to a local Sexual Health or Infectious Diseases clinic is advised.

LGV – Lymphogranuloma venereum

Specimen collection

Clinician collected |



Principal Treatment Options
Suspected or confirmed LGV

Doxycycline 100mg PO BD for 21 days 

Alternative regimens are not recommended due to lack of efficacy data. If alternative regimen required, seek specialist advice. 

LGV - Lymphogranuloma venereum

Treatment advice

Other immediate management

Special treatment situations

Special considerations

Consider seeking specialist advice before treating any complicated presentation.
Persistence of symptoms despite initial treatment Check other STI tests were done at initial consult. Seek specialist advice
Pregnant women
Seek specialist advice

Allergy to principal treatment choice Seek specialist advice
Inguinal buboes These may require drainage through normal skin under ultrasound guidance - seek specialist advice

Contact tracing

See Australasian Contact Tracing Manual – LGV for more information.

Follow up

Review in 1 week provides an opportunity to:

Test of Cure (TOC)


Auditable outcomes


BASHH LGV Guideline 2013- https://www.bashhguidelines.org/current-guidelines/genital-ulceration/lgv-2013/ 

IUSTI-Europe LGV guideline 2013 http://www.iusti.org/regions/Europe/pdf/2013/LGV_IUSTI_guideline_2013.pdf 

CDC LGV guideline https://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/lgv.htm

Last Updated: Thursday, 29 March 2018