STDs You’ve Never Heard Of: Chancroid

Sure you’ve heard about Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and maybe even HPV, but there are plenty of STDs out there that you haven’t heard about, like Chancroid.


Introducing Chancroid, the bacterial infection most common in developing countries and prostitutes.

What is Chancroid?

Chancroid (Cank-roid) has a lot in common with canker sores, but instead of getting ulcers in your mouth, they are on your genitles.  Chancroid sores are very painful and are also very visible on the infected person. The sores start off as raised ulcers in the skin that change into an open sore within a day or two.  These sores also have a chance of inflaming and swelling lymph nodes, causing them to rupture through the skin and producing a draining abscess.

The Ulcer

  • Can be on the penis, rectum, and vulva — especially around the opening to the vagina. Sores may produce pus and be painful.

  • Ranges in size from 1/8 inch to 2 inches across

  • Is painful

  • Has sharply defined borders

  • Has a base that is covered with a grey or yellowish-grey material

  • Has a base that bleeds easily if it is banged or scraped

Chancroid or Syphilis?

To add further complications.  The symptoms of Chancroid are similar to the symptoms of Syphilis.  Both have ulcerated lesions (liquid filled bumps of flesh) and appear in the same locations on the genitiles.  The biggest difference to distinguish the two, is that with Syphilis the ulcers/sores will heal spontaneously within 3-6 weeks, even without treatment (the infection still exists though.) Chancroid only gets worse without treatment.   However, if you suspect infection it’s best you immediately consult a physician.


The good/better news is that infection levels are very low in the Western world with only about one infection case per two million people.  Chancroid is also treatable, usually requiring only one dose of Azithromycin, or other antibiotic after all abscesses have been drained.  The bad news is, treatment can be ineffective if HIV was also contracted with Chancroid and further therapy would be required.


The best way to help prevent Chancroid is through the use of condoms.  The bacteria transfers through sexual contact, so reducing exposure is the safest route outside of not having sex.

Chancroid definitely sounds unpleasant, so wrap it up before you’re left with a throbbing pain in your crotch.

[Source – Wikipedia]

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