Lymphogranuloma venereum proctocolitis: a silent endemic disease in men who have sex with men in industrialised countries

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2010 Aug;29(8):917-25. doi: 10.1007/s10096-010-0959-2. Epub 2010 May 28.


Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by serovars L1-L3 of Chlamydia trachomatis. Rare in the western world prior to 2003, different outbreaks or clusters of LGV have been reported in Europe, North America and Australia among men who have sex with men (MSM) over the past few years. The majority were HIV infected MSM with high-risk sexual behaviour and a high rate of concomitant STD, including hepatitis C. Most of them presented with a proctitis syndrome and only a few with the classical bubonic form. A previously non-described serovar, L2b, has been identified as the main causative agent of the epidemic. A delay in diagnosis has been the rule because of the misleading symptomatology of LGV proctitis, the unfamiliarity of the disease to physicians, and the lack of a routine diagnostic test for LGV serovars. It is crucial to increase the awareness of the disease among physicians for prompt diagnosis and treatment, to avoid complications, and to stop ongoing transmission. It has additional public health implications since LGV may facilitate the transmission and acquisition of HIV and other STD.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / isolation & purification*
  • Comorbidity
  • Developed Countries
  • Endemic Diseases*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • Hepatitis C / complications
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Lymphogranuloma Venereum / complications*
  • Lymphogranuloma Venereum / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • North America / epidemiology
  • Proctocolitis / epidemiology*
  • Proctocolitis / microbiology*