A rare STI caused by specific strains of chlamydia has been reported in the Netherlands, France and Great Britain and may appear in Australia soon, AIDSmap reported.
It is a bit concerning that it is appearing in urban gay centres in Europe and, if it follows the pattern of other diseases that are sexually transmissible, we need to have a high index of suspicion for it arriving here. Dr Robert Finlayson told Sydney Star Observer.
Finlayson, the director of Taylor Square Private Clinic, said he was not yet aware of any Australian cases.
The infection lymphogranuloma venereum or LGV was first detected in Amsterdam in December 2003 among men who have sex with men.
LGV has since been reported in Antwerp, Paris, Belgium, Sweden and Great Britain. This week the Centers for Disease Control issued a warning LGV might reach North America.
Symptoms include gastrointestinal bleeding, inflammation of the rectum and colon, genital ulcers, swollen lymph glands and flu-like symptoms.
The infection can be cured with a 21-day course of antibiotics, although untreated it can lead to chronic inflammation of the lymphatic system, genital elephantiasis and in rare cases can be fatal.
Finlayson said protected intercourse would greatly reduce the risk of infection and he also urged sexually active gay men to get tested regularly for STIs.
Perhaps if people are having lots of casual partners, they could have an STD check-up with their doctor a bit more frequently than they used to, Finlayson said. Maybe every three or four months rather than every six or 12 months if they are having multiple casual contacts.
Finlayson said LGV was also of especial concern for people with HIV.
I think we could quite confidently presume that it will be transmitted by people with HIV and received by people with HIV more easily, because syphilis has followed that course and most other STDs can be characterised that way, he said.
A preliminary evaluation of the Amsterdam cluster found 77 percent of the 30 men infected were HIV-positive, the CDC reported.
The report also found the majority of men infected had participated in casual sex gatherings and performed unprotected anal sex and fisting during the 12 months before the onset of symptoms.