Chancroid: from clinical practice to basic science

AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2000 Jan;14(1):19-36. doi: 10.1089/108729100318109.


Chancroid is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacterium Haemophilus ducreyi. It usually presents as a genital ulcer and may be associated with regional lymphadenopathy and bubo formation. H. ducreyi infection is predominantly seen in tropical resource-poor regions of the world where it is frequently the most common etiological cause of genital ulceration. Genital ulcer disease has been shown to be an extremely important co-factor in HIV transmission. With the advent of the AIDS epidemic, there has been increased research effort to elucidate those factors involved in the pathogenesis of chancroid. Several putative virulence factors have now been identified and isogenic H. ducreyi mutants constructed by mutagenesis of their encoding genes. This approach has facilitated investigations into the role each of these putative virulence factors may play in H. ducreyi pathogenesis through the use of in vitro and in vivo model systems. One major goal of current chancroid research is to identify antigens which are immunogenic and could form the basis of a vaccine against H. ducreyi infection. Such a vaccine, if shown to be effective in decreasing the prevalence of chancroid, could have the added benefit of slowing down the HIV incidence rates in those populations where chancroid is a major co-factor for HIV transmission.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections* / diagnosis
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections* / epidemiology
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections* / transmission
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • Antigens, Bacterial / isolation & purification
  • Chancroid* / drug therapy
  • Chancroid* / etiology
  • Chancroid* / pathology
  • Female
  • Haemophilus ducreyi / genetics*
  • Haemophilus ducreyi / pathogenicity
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Rabbits


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antigens, Bacterial