Granuloma inguinale is rare in the US, with less than 100 cases occurring each year. It is more common in tropical and subtropical areas of the world, especially in regions where antibiotics are not common.
At first glance, granuloma inguinale can resemble several other infections involving some form of genital sore, such as CMV. Unlike CMV sores, granuloma inguinale can and does spread to other regions of the genitals and inguinal area (the folds of skin between the trunk and legs).
Prevention: Don’t have sex with anyone who has visible sores, use condoms.
Treatment: Granuloma inguinale is treated with a three-week course of antibiotics. Early treatment can prevent scarring and loss of genital tissue.
Symptoms: Bright red bumps develop in the genital tissue or anus. Over time the skin of these bumps wears away leaving bright red nodules that may bleed easily, though they are usually painless. Overtime these sores spread, eating away at the genital tissue. Early treatment can prevent scarring and damage to genital tissue.
If you live in a part of the world where granuloma inguinale is rare, you shouldn’t need to worry unless you have a partner from a part of the world where it is more common. If you live in an area where granuloma inguinale is common, you will want to educate yourself about the signs and symptoms so you can get treatment as early as possible. Regardless of where you live, it is always a good idea to avoid sexual contact with any partner who has sores or lesions.