Sydney doctors have confirmed four cases of lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV), a sexually transmissible infection caused by certain strains of chlamydia, NSW Health announced today.

The infection, whose symptoms can include the discharge of blood from the anus, constipation and fever, was first reported among gay men in the Netherlands in 2003 and has since been seen in other European countries and North America.

NSW Health and ACON warned the infection, most commonly transmitted through unprotected anal intercourse between men, was often asymptomatic.

Typically people develop a small, painless sore where the bacteria enters the body, usually inside the rectum, one to two months after infection, NSW Health communicable disease director Dr Jeremy McAnulty said.

But sometimes these signs can go unnoticed so it’s important to be aware of symptoms and seek antibiotic treatment as soon as possible.

Typically people develop a small, painless sore where the bacteria enters the body, usually inside the rectum, one to two months after infection.

ACON president Adrian Lovney said using condoms and water-based lubricant during sex and latex gloves during fisting would reduce the likelihood of infection.

A new glove or condom should be used with every new partner to prevent the spread of infection being passed from one to another, Lovney said.

LGV is usually curable with a course of antibiotics, but can cause lasting damage if left untreated.

More information about LGV and other sexually transmissible infections is available at www.whytest.org.

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