The aetiology of genital ulceration was studied in 104 unselected patients (94 men, 10 women) attending a sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic in the Gambia. Chancroid was diagnosed in 54 (52%), syphilis in 23 (22%), lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) in seven (7%), and herpes in six (6%). In 28 (27%) patients no diagnosis was reached. Ten (10%) patients were found to have both chancroid and syphilis, three (3%) had both LGV and syphilis, and one (1%) had both herpes and syphilis. Trimethoprim 160 mg and sulphamethoxazole 800 mg twice daily for one week was found to be effective in the treatment of chancroid. This regimen with a single intramuscular injection of benzathine penicillin 2.4 MIU is recommended for the treatment of genital ulcers in Gambian health centres without laboratory facilities.
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