Is Chancroid?: All About its Prevention and Treatment

What is Chancroid?

Chancroid is a sexually transmitted infection which mostly affects sexually active persons. It is mostly spread through sexual intercourse although it can be spread by skin to skin contact. It is caused by a bacterium called Hemophilus ducreyi. Getting into contact with the sores of an infected person may cause you an infection because it is a highly infectious disease.

How Common is The Infection?

Research suggests that chancroid is more common among people of a low social standing and this explains why it is widespread in the developing world. Generally its prevalence rate worldwide declined but irregular outbreaks are still common in Africa and the Caribbean regions. Chancroid infection together with herpes and syphilis has been linked with a high risk factor in transmission of HIV.

How Easily Do People Get Chancroid?

Chancroid Prevention and Treatment

Chancroid is usually transmitted in two ways:

  • By sexual transmission where there is skin to skin contact with the sores or ulcers.
  • Contact of the skin with the pus from the ulcers to another healthy individual. In this case the skin contact doesn’t necessarily have to be sexual.

People who have ulcers with oozing pus are usually highly contagious and contact with them should be avoided at all costs. It’s a mystery why infected mothers have not been found to pass the infection to their children at birth.

How Do You Know That You Have Contracted Chancroid?

If you recently had an unprotected sexual intercourse with an individual and you have noticed the following occurrences in your body it could be chancroid:

  • Chancroid symptoms will occur in an individual within 3 to 10 days of infection. It is very rare for chancroid symptoms to be observed in less than 3 days or later than ten days.
  • You will notice a lump in your genitals which starts of as tender and later get filled with pus and will ultimately get sore releasing a fluid.
  • Unlike syphilis chancre that is usually hard, chancroid ulcers are tender when touched.
  • Women tend to be asymptomatic in its early stages but as the infection progresses they may experience painful sex and urination.
  • The infection may be characterized by lymph nodes that are painful occurring in the groin areas.

What You Should Do If You Observe The Above Symptoms/

It is advisable to seek medical attention immediately so that it can be treated as soon as possible. Chancroid if left untreated for a long time may cause severe lymph nodes which may need surgery.

Your doctor will examine you for chancroid and if it is established that you have acquired it antibiotics will be administered to you.

How Can You Prevent Chancroid?

The best way that you can prevent yourself from getting chancroid infection is simply by abstaining from sex. The infection is mostly transmitted through sexual intercourse with infected persons. Practicing safe sex is also another way of reducing your risk of contracting the disease if you will not abstain from sex. Couples are also advised to remain faithful to their partners to avoid inviting possible infection.

Healthcare professionals handling patients with chancroid particularly those with ulcers who are highly contagious must also be careful with the wounds. The ulcers pose a very high risk of getting infection from chancroid disease.

Even though condoms will offer some level of protection mostly the parts that are covered, areas left out like the anal areas will still be left open for possible infection.

Some of the complications of chancroid include the following:

  • In almost half of reported chancroid infection cases, lymph nodes around the groin region get infected in about five to eight days of initial sores appearance.
  • Glands in the groin area may become inflamed, painful, and red. In very severe cases of such an inflammation it may need to be operated by way of surgery to help relieve the pain.
  • The ruptured buboes are usually prone to bacterial infections.
  • Uncircumcised men may respond slowly to treatment compared to circumcised men.

Treatment For Chancroid

Patients who have been diagnosed with chancroid are usually given antimicrobial therapy to eradicate the H ducreyi bacteria. Below are some of the antibiotics used in chancroid treatment:

  • Ceftriaxone – 250mg administered intramuscularly.
  • Azithromycin – 1 g by mouth as a single dosage.
  • Ciprofloxacin – 500mg given twice per day for up to three days.

Ceftriaxone is the preferred medicine for expectant women because it is not contraindicative.


Chancroid is a sexually transmitted infection that is common in sexually active people. The best way to stay safe from any sexually transmitted infection is to abstain from sexual intercourse. If you decide to have sex then it is wise to use a condom every time you engage in sexual activity. The infection can be treated by use of antibiotics. Research also suggests that there is a high prevalence rate of the infection in developing countries due to the lack of adequate healthcare amenities.