Granuloma Inguinale

What is granuloma inguinale?

Granuloma inguinale is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) believed to be caused by bacteria calledCalymmatobacterium granulomatis (Donovania granulomatis). It is a chronic infection of the skin and lymph glands in the genital area of the body.

Who gets granuloma inguinale?

Granuloma inguinale is a relatively rare disease occurring in people living in tropical and subtropical areas. It is seen more frequently in males. In the United States, it is not commonly spread to heterosexual partners of persons with this disease.

What are the symptoms of granuloma inguinale?

The disease begins with the appearance of lumps or blisters in the genital area which become slowly enlarging open sores.

How soon do symptoms appear?

Symptoms may be noticed 1 to 16 weeks after exposure.

How is granuloma inguinale spread?

Granuloma inguinale is thought to be spread through sexual contact with an infected individual. More specifically, this contact involves exposure to bacteria from the open sores or lesions in the genital area.

What is the treatment for granuloma inguinale?

Granuloma inguinale is effectively treated with antibiotics. Response to treatment should be evident within 7 days and total healing usually occurs within 3 to 5 weeks.

What happens if granuloma inguinale goes untreated?

Without treatment, granuloma inguinale can result in serious damage to the sex organs and the disease may also spread to other parts of the body.

How can granuloma inguinale be prevented?

Not having sex is the only sure way to avoid getting granuloma inguinale or any other STD. Otherwise, limiting the number of one’s sexual partners reduces the chance of being exposed. Using condoms correctly with all partners will decrease the possibility of becoming infected. If you think you are infected, avoid any sexual contact until you have visited a doctor, hospital or STD clinic. If you are infected, notify your sex partners immediately so they can be tested and treated.

How can I get more information about granuloma inguinale?

  • If you have concerns about granuloma inguinale, call your healthcare provider.
  • If you have questions about any sexually transmitted disease, including granuloma inguinale, please call the Virginia Disease Prevention Hotline at 1-800-533-4148.
  • Call your local health department. A directory of local health departments is located at

December 1997