Canadian officials report an outbreak of a rare form of chlamydia in Toronto, with all but one of the 30 cases reported occurring in gay and bisexual men.
Outbreaks of lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) also have been reported among gay men in Europe and in several U.S. cities.
The sexually transmitted disease, which causes genital and rectal bleeding and scarring or even spinal or brain complications if left untreated, is normally seen only in tropical areas of the world.
Most of the LGV cases reported in Toronto occurred in men also coinfected with HIV, health officials say. It isn’t clear if HIV infection makes it more likely to become infected with LGV or if HIV-positive men are simply engaging in riskier behaviors that put them at risk for coinfection with the STD.
Canadian health officials say they are worried that the LGV outbreak among gay men coupled with an existing syphilis outbreak could dramatically raise the risks of HIV’s spread among gay men since both STDs can boost the changes for HIV transmissions.
“It’s a marker for high-risk sex and partner change,’ said Kelly McDonald, chair of the Ontario HIV Treatment Network. “In every study with explosive rates of HIV you see syphilis.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, June 23, 2006.