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Whittall Street Clinic is featured in Channel 4's new programme ‘The Sex Clinic’, starts 10pm Thursday 11th April.
New Rapid HIV Testing clinic at St Martin’s in the Bullring
Now open every Tuesday 11.00am - 3.15pm - no appointment needed.
The clinic is located upstairs in the St Martin’s Centre for Health & Healing next to the Church in the Bullring. Entrance to the clinic is via St Martin’s church shop.
Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is a chronic sexually transmitted infection caused by three invasive serovars of Chlamydia trachomatis.
How is it passed on?
Anyone who has unprotected sex can catch LGV, although recent cases of LGV in the UK have been restricted to men who have sex with men particularly those with HIV infection.
LGV is infection of lymph nodes and lymphoid tissues. The infection passes through the microscopic tears on the skin or mucosal lining (in vagina, rectum or mouth) and finds its way to the lymph nodes. Within two weeks after unprotected sex a small ulcer appears heals up on its own after a few days. At this stage, infection can easily be missed by the patients because the ulcer is symptomless.
If left untreated, after 30 days or more, nodes closest to the site of infection (inguinal, pelvic, or head and neck), swell up and become tender. If site of infection was in rectum (through unprotected anal sex), severe inflammation of colo-rectal linings will ensue. In that case, patients complain from abdominal pain, pain in their back passage, or whenever they open their bowels. They may also note pus coming out of their anus.
If infection site was in the vagina (through unprotected vaginal sex), severe inflammation of vaginal linings will ensue. Patients may complain of severe vaginal pain and discharge. If untreated, infection may extend to the ovaries and irreversibly impact on them.
If infection site was in the mouth (through unprotected oral sex), painful tonsillitis, and nodes on the neck may develop.
LGV can be passed on through:
- Unprotected anal, vaginal and oral sex
- Through fisting and sharing of sex toys
- Painless ulcer (sore) on the skin of genital area or around anus
- Swelling of penis in men, and vulva in women Swelling of the skin in the groin(s); on one or both sides
- Pus coming out of the swelling in the groin
- Painful bowel movement
How is LGV diagnosed?
The diagnosis of LGV relies in detection of chlamydia through taking swabs from the site of infection. It is important for patients suspected for having LGV to also be tested for HIV and syphilis.
Because of their non-specific nature, diagnosis of LGV can be missed by non-specialist clinicians. It is therefore imperative for patients with recent history of unprotected sex who suddenly develop the above symptoms to be screened for chlamydia in a GUM clinic.
What is the treatment for LGV?
LGV can be treated with a three week course of doxycycline. Aspiration of tender enlarged lymph nodes, and surgical excision of areas of stricture may also be required.
Once LGV has been treated, it will not re-occur unless you have unprotected sex with someone with untreated LGV. This is why it is important to treat partner(s) for LGV as well. This will prevent re-infection with LGV.
What are the complications of untreated LGV?
Untreated LGV causes ongoing inflammation that may eventually lead to stricture (severe narrowing) of the affected organs (rectum, fallopian tube, etc). It can also cause to fistula (opening) between the rectum and genital organs. In those cases, surgical operation may be required.
You can help protect yourself against LGV by using condoms every time you have vaginal, anal or oral sex.