Rare Sexually Transmitted Disease Strikes 2 in N.Y.

Wed Feb 2, 5:06 PM ET Health - Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two New Yorkers have been diagnosed with a rare sexually transmitted disease that is spreading among gay and bisexual men in Europe, the city health commissioner said on Wednesday.

The disease, known as LGV or Lymphogranuloma venereum, is caused by specific strains of chlamydia and is often marked by painful, bloody rectal infection and genital ulcers.

“LGV is a serious condition and its emergence in New York City reflects continuing high levels of unsafe sexual activity among men who have sex with men,” Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden told a news conference.

“Unprotected anal intercourse, in particular, is extremely risky in terms of the spread of LGV as well as HIV”, he added.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has confirmed six recent cases in the United States, including three cases in San Francisco and one in Atlanta.

Among the cases identified thus far, most have also had HIV/AIDS infection, Frieden said.

The Netherlands has reported 92 cases of LGV dating back to 2003 and Belgium, France, Sweden and Britain have also reported infections.

Most people infected report having multiple sex partners and engaging in unprotected anal intercourse and other high-risk practices, officials said.

LGV can be cured by a three-week course of antibiotics if identified early. Untreated, it can cause swelling and scarring of the genitals and permanent damage to the bowels.

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