Health officials in the United Kingdom say 23 confirmed cases of the sexually transmitted disease lymphogranuloma venereum have been reported in the country since October, with all of the cases occurring in gay and bisexual men, BBC News reports. Health officials in New York last week announced the confirmation of two LGV cases, adding to reports of the STD among gay men in San Francisco and Atlanta.
LGV is a rare form of chlamydia that can cause severe rectal bleeding and scarring if left untreated. Cases of the STD are cropping up among gay men worldwide, including in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Sweden. Many of the men contracting the STD also are HIV-positive, leading some researchers to suspect that a weakened immune system may have difficulty in fighting off the infection. LGV also makes HIV transmissions easier as the open, bleeding lesions associated with the disease can serve as portals for HIV to enter and leave the body.
"One of the biggest problems we have is that it doesn't present like a typical [STD], so not only the patients themselves but also their doctors may not [recognize] it," U.K. specialist Neil McDonald told BBC News. People who think they may be at risk should see their doctor, said McDonald.