Visitors to Sydney have been warned to take extra precautions after eight cases of a new sexually transmitted infection were reported in the city.

Lymphogranuloma Venereum or LGV is similar to chlamydia but more severe, with early symptoms including bloody or mucousy discharges from the anus, constipation, and painful bowel movements.

Dr Chris Bourne of the STI Programs Unit at the Sydney Sexual Health Centre, which announced the infections, urged people to be watchful of their health.

“It appears that the group most at risk from this outbreak of LGV is men who have sex with men who have unprotected anal intercourse with casual partners,” Bourne said.

“This group includes some gay men with HIV who choose not to use condoms with partners who are also HIV positive.”

Bourne urged anyone showing even mild symptoms to seek testing as soon as possible.

“Untreated, scarring and tissue damage can occur. Antibiotic treatment is effective, but early intervention is essential,” he said.

“Condom use, other safe-sex practices and regular sexual health checks are essential if STIs like LGV are to be controlled effectively within the gay community.”

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill urged people to use condoms with water-based lube, and gloves when putting any part of the hand into the anus.

“A new glove or condom should be used with every new partner,” Parkhill said. “Sex toys should not be shared or should be covered with a condom that is changed for every new person on which they are used. They can also be washed between partners.

“Washing hands with soap and water immediately after sex can also help prevent infection.

“It is also inadvisable to share douching equipment as this may spread infection.”

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