Rare disease found in gay men spreads to UK

March 31, 2005

LONDON — A rare disease found in gay men in the Netherlands two years ago and since reported in France, Sweden, Belgium, Germany and the United States has now found its way into Britain, according to a report on Thursday.

The disease, lymphograunuloma venereum, attacks the rectum and can if not treated early affect part of the immune system, The Journal Sexually Transmitted Infections said.

It said 34 cases had been reported in Britain – all in gay men of whom more than half were HIV positive and a handful also were infected with the sexually transmitted hepatitis C.

It is a a genital bacterial infection caused by a particularly aggressive strain of Chlamydia trachomatis, the journal said.

It was considered relatively rare until 2003 when about 100 cases were reported in Rotterdam.

Since then it has been found in Antwerp, Hamburg, Paris, Sweden and several US cities including New York, San Francisco and Atlanta.

If treated early it can be dealt with using antibiotics. But if overlooked, surgery is often necessary, the journal said. – Published by IOL News

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