Two hundred and fifteen confirmed cases of the previously rare sexually transmitted infection, LGV (lymphogranuloma venereum), have now been confirmed in the United Kingdom, the vast majority in gay men who are chronically infected with HIV, according to the latest data from the Health Protection Agency.
Enhanced surveillance of LGV, which includes information on sexuality, symptoms and other demographic data, began in England in October 2004, and was extended to the rest of the UK in January 2005.
Of the 215 confirmed cases so far, epidemiological and clinical reports have been received for 147. Of these 81% (119/147) have been reported in HIV-positive gay men, most of whom were chronically infected with HIV, rather than having acquired HIV along with LGV.
Although the majority (144/147) of confirmed cases with enhanced data have been in gay men, two cases have now been reported in heterosexual men. The HPA do not report whether these heterosexual men were also HIV-positive, or what their sexual practices were. Most of the men were diagnosed after they had symptoms of proctitis, including rectal discharge, rectal pain and bloody stools.
Cases have been reported throughout England, Scotland and Wales, although the majority have been diagnosed in London (153/215, 71%) and Brighton (31/215, 14%).
The cases were confirmed by the Health Protection Agency's Sexually Transmitted Bacteria Reference laboratory.
As well as in the UK, this current outbreak of sexually transmitted LGV, which began three years ago, has also been affecting mainly gay HIV-positive men in the Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Spain, the United States and Canada.
Health Protection Agency. Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV) in men who have sex with men (MSM) in the UK: an update. CDR Weekly (15) 40: 4-5, 2005.