Terrence Higgins Trust is launching a campaign today to raise awareness of LGV (Lymphogranuloma venereum), a previously rare sexually transmitted infection, as diagnoses pass 100.
According to latest figures published today by the Health Protection Agency, 140 gay men have now been diagnosed with LGV in the UK, and two thirds of these cases are in London.
This news is of particular concern for gay men living with HIV as 80% of men being diagnosed with LGV also have HIV. In response to the increase, Terrence Higgins Trust is launching an internet based information campaign at www.tht.org.uk/gaymen/lgv and distributing LGV leaflets to sexual health and HIV clinics throughout the UK.
Will Nutland, Head of Health Promotion at Terrence Higgins Trust says “Just a year ago LGV was virtually unheard of in the UK. Sexual health clinics have been diagnosing increasing numbers of gay men with LGV as more gay men recognise the symptoms and as sexual health clinics screen men for the infection.”
Will went on to say “It’s important that gay men, especially gay men with HIV, know about LGV and request a screening from their sexual health or HIV centre if they suspect they have the infection. We know that LGV is more common in men who have anal sex without condoms and men with large numbers of sexual partners.”
Dr Helen Ward, Head of Prevention for the Health Protection Agency’s Department of HIV & STIs, added:
“Most of the men with LGV have had symptoms including rectal pain, bleeding and discharge, and a few have had swollen lymph nodes. Although LGV can be treated with a three-week course of antibiotics, if left untreated it can cause severe and painful long-term problems.
“The Health Protection Agency is working closely with the Terrence Higgins Trust and with clinicians to improve awareness of the problem and ensure men are appropriately tested and treated.”