Anorectal Lymphogranuloma Venereum in Madrid: A Persistent Emerging Problem in Men Who Have Sex With Men

Alfonso Cabello Úbeda, Ricardo Fernández Roblas, Rosa García Delgado, Laura Martínez García, Fabiola Sterlin, Manuel L Fernández Guerrero, Miguel Górgolas
Sexually Transmitted Diseases 2016, 43 (7): 414-9

BACKGROUND: Since 2003, outbreaks of lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) with anorectal syndrome have been increasingly recognized in many Western countries. All of them have been classified as LGV serovar L2b, mainly occurring in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected men who have had sex with men (MSM). We describe a series of 26 diagnosed cases of LGV proctitis in downtown Madrid, Spain, in 2014, after implementing routine diagnostic procedures for this disease in symptomatic MSM.

METHODS: We conducted an observational study of patients with symptomatic proctitis attending an outpatient infectious diseases clinic in Madrid, Spain during calendar year 2014. Clinical, epidemiological, laboratory, and therapeutic data were gathered and analyzed.

RESULTS: Twenty-six patients were included in the analysis. All were MSM, and 24 of them were HIV-positive. All patients reported having acute proctitis symptoms including tenesmus (85%), pain (88%), constipation (62%), or anal discharge (96%). Proctoscopy showed mucopurulent exudate (25 patients [96%]), and rectal bleeding, with mucosal erythema and/or oedema in all cases. Rectal swabs were obtained from all patients, and LGV serovar L2 was confirmed in all of them. The cure rate was 100% after standard treatments with doxycycline 100 mg twice per day for 3 weeks. Simultaneous rectal infections with other sexually transmitted pathogens (gonorrhoea, herpes simplex virus, Mycoplasma genitalium) and systemic sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) (syphilis, acute HIV, and hepatitis C infections) were also documented in 12 patients (46%), but these co-infections did not appear to influence the clinical manifestations of LGV.

CONCLUSIONS: Anorectal LGV is a common cause of acute proctitis and proctocolitis among HIV-infected MSM who practice unprotected anal sex, and it is frequently associated with other rectal STDs. The implementation of routine screening and prompt diagnosis of these rectal infections should be mandatory in all clinical settings attended by HIV and STD patients.

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