Chancroid (patient information)
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Chancroid On the Web
- Chancroid is caused by a bacterium called Haemophilus ducreyi.
- Chancroid is a sexually transmitted disease
- The predominant characteristic of chancroid is an ulcer that is soft to the touch. These ulcers start off as red bumps.
- Chancroid should be treated with antibiotics. See a doctor to start treatment as soon as symptoms arise in order to reduce morbidity of the disease.
- Special treatment considerations need to be taken with individuals who are HIV positive and with women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
What causes chancroid?
Chancroid is caused by a bacterium called Haemophilus ducreyi. H. ducreyi is usually found in developing countries but may also be found in endemic areas in devloped countries associated with crack cocaine use and prostitution. H. ducreyi is typically transmitted through sexual intercourse.
What are the symptoms of chancroid?
Patients can develop chancroid more than once on subsequent exposures to H. ducreyi. Symptoms start to appear 4 to 10 days after exposure to H. ducreyi. Symptoms of chancroid may include:
- Red bumps called papules
- Swollen inguinal lymph nodes (these are lymph nodes located in the fold between the leg and lower abdomen)
- Pain with urination and intercourse in females
Most hospitals do not have the necessary materials to identify chancroid rapidly and reliably through laboratory testing. A probable diagnosis will involve presence of the any or all of the above symptoms, along with negative tests for syphilis and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Chancroid looks very similar to a syphilitic chancre but the distinguishing feature of chancroid is that the ulcer is soft to the touch, while a syphilitic chancre is hard.
Since chancroid is caused by bacterial infection your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. Notify your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding as some antibiotics are harmful to the fetus/infant. Notify your doctor if you are HIV positive as treatment delay or failure may occur.
Where to find medical care for chancroid?
Since chanroid is a sexually transmitted disease, effective measures to avoid transmission include: limiting the number of sexual partners (especially intercourse with prostitutes), using a barrier method of contraception and avoiding traveling to areas with a high prevalence of chancroid (Africa, southeast Asia, Latin America). Individuals with chancroid should abstain from sexual intercourse to stop the spread of the disease.