Journal Article

Asymptomatic lymphogranuloma venereum among Nigerian men who have sex with men

Objectives
Recent outbreaks of anorectal lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) among men who have sex with men (MSM) have been characterised by proctocolitis requiring extended antibiotic treatment compared with infections caused by other serovars of Chlamydia trachomatis (CT). We describe the prevalence and clinical features of LGV among Nigerian MSM diagnosed with anorectal CT.

Methods
MSM were recruited for this observational cohort in Lagos, Nigeria, using respondent-driven sampling and screened for HIV and bacterial STIs every three months for up to 18 months. Nucleic acid amplification tests for CT were performed on rectal swab specimens. Prevalent and incident cases of anorectal CT underwent additional testing to identify LGV using novel real-time PCR assays specific for the L-serovars of CT.

Results
From April 2014 to July 2016, 420 MSM underwent testing for rectal STIs, of whom 66 (15.7%) had prevalent anorectal CT. Among those without prevalent disease, 68 developed incident infections during 208 person-years of follow-up. Of 134 prevalent and incident cases of anorectal CT, 7 (5.2%) were identified as LGV. None of the seven participants with LGV reported any symptoms. Two of the participants with LGV were simultaneously coinfected with rectal gonorrhoea. HIV coinfection was common among participants with both LGV (n=5, 71%) and non-LGV (n=98, 77%) serovars of CT (P=0.66).

Conclusions
Anorectal LGV was uncommon but present among Nigerian MSM in this study. Consistent screening for L-serovars of CT, or presumptive treatment for LGV in cases with a high suspicion for this diagnosis, could potentially improve patient outcomes and decrease transmission.