Chancroid is a bacterial STI that is only spread through sexual contact. It causes painful ulcers or sores in the genital region.
Women with chancroid often have no symptoms. Men will usually have a painful, erosive ulcer with ragged edges somewhere on the penis. Tissue around the sores can die and lead to more serious infection if not treated.
Chancroid can be treated with antibiotics. Severe ulcers may need to be drained or dead skin may need to be removed to prevent further, more serious infection.
Chancroid is not very common in the United States and is most often seen among commercial sex workers or their sex partners/clients.
As with all STIs, the most effective protection is to abstain from sexual activity or be monogamous with one long-term partner who has tested negative for chancroid. Using latex condoms or dental dams can help reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the infection. But because chancroid is spread through skin-to-skin contact, condoms do not fully protect against the spread of the bacteria.