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Definition of Chancroid

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Chancroid: A sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Haemophilus ducreyi. Periodic outbreaks of chancroid have occurred in the US, usually in minority populations in the inner cities. This disease is common in sub-Saharan Africa among men who have frequent contact with prostitutes.

The infection begins with the appearance of painful open sores on the genitals, sometimes accompanied by swollen, tender lymph nodes in the groin. These symptoms occur within a week after exposure. Symptoms in women are often less noticeable and may be limited to painful urination or defecation, painful intercourse, rectal bleeding, or vaginal discharge.

Chancroid can be treated effectively with several antibiotics. Chancroid is one of the genital ulcer diseases associated with an increased risk of transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of AIDS.

Also known as soft chancre, soft sore, and soft ulcer.

Reviewed on 9/7/2018

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