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In France, lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) testing switched from universal to selective testing in 2016.


To investigate changes in LGV-affected populations, we performed a nationwide survey based on temporarily reinstated universal LGV testing from 2020 to 2022.


Each year, during three consecutive months, laboratories voluntarily sent anorectal -positive samples from men and women to the National Reference Centre for bacterial sexually transmitted infections. We collected patients’ demographic, clinical and biological data. Genovars L of were detected using real-time PCR. In LGV-positive samples, the A gene was sequenced.


In 2020, LGV positivity was 12.7% (146/1,147), 15.2% (138/907) in 2021 and 13.3% (151/1,137) in 2022 (p > 0.05). It occurred predominantly in men who have sex with men (MSM), with rare cases among transgender women. The proportion of HIV-negative individuals was higher than that of those living with HIV. Asymptomatic rectal LGV increased from 36.1% (44/122) in 2020 to 52.4% (66/126) in 2022 (p = 0.03). Among users of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), LGV positivity was 13.8% (49/354) in 2020, 15.6% (38/244) in 2021 and 10.9% (36/331) in 2022, and up to 50% reported no anorectal symptoms. Diversity of the LGV genotypes in the Paris region increased during the survey period. An unexpectedly high number of genotype L1 variant was reported in 2022.


In rectal samples from MSM in France, LGV positivity was stable, but the proportion of asymptomatic cases increased in 2022. This underscores the need of universal LGV testing and the importance of continuous surveillance.


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