Kalamaoo County

Health and Community Services Department


Frequently Asked Questions: Sexually Transmitted Diseases – Chancroid

What is it?
An old STD making a comeback.  Bacterial infection with sores and swelling usually in genital area but can be anywhere on the body in the form of bright red blisters or pimples with ragged edges.

How do I get it?
Sexual contact (direct transmission) or from skin to skin contact with someone who has infected sores.  Sores may be in other places than the genitals.  You can get Chancroid from person who has no visible signs of having it.  KNOW YOUR PARTNER.

What are the symptoms?
Painful swelling and draining open sores that ooze pus.  Messy.  There may be few symptoms. Early treatment is the next best thing to not getting it in the first place.

Is it dangerous?
Its primary danger is that the open sores make it easy to pick up other STDs, like HIV and AIDS virus.

Is it common?
Much more common in warm climates.  Less common in cooler climates but it's increasing. Chancroid has to be reported to Public Health.

How do I get rid of it?
Must be diagnosed and treated by a health professional who will prescribe proper antibiotic for cure.  Follow prescribed treatment and don't have sex until the sores go away.

Remember . . .
Condoms may not offer enough protection against infection because Chancroid is caused by direct contact with an open sore which may not be on penis or vagina.  Poor personal hygiene encourages infection.  Keep clean.  Bathe or shower daily.

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