How Is Chancroid Treated?

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Chancroid is treated with antibiotics. Patients with chancroid are usually examined 3-7 days after treatment is finished to see if it has been successful.

Unsuccessful treatment can occur if you do not take the drugs correctly. It can also occur if your infection is resistant to the antibiotic you were treated with. Patients with HIV and uncircumcised male patients do not respond as well to treatment as others. They may need additional follow-up.

If you have been diagnosed with chancroid, any sexual partners you had within 10 days before you started to have symptoms should be examined and treated as well. That is true whether or not they have symptoms.

The drug regimens below are taken from the Centers for Disease Control 2015 STD treatment guidelines. Remember that only your doctor can say which treatment is right for you.

Recommended Regimens

Azithromycin 1 g orally in a single dose
Ceftriaxone 250 mg intramuscularly (IM) in a single dose
Ciprofloxacin* 500 mg orally twice a day for 3 days
Erythromycin base* 500 mg orally three times a day for 7 days

*Some strains of H. ducreyi, the bacterium that causes chancroid, have been reported to be resistant to these antibiotics.

Pregnant women should not be treated with ciprofloxacin. It can potentially have negative effects on the fetus. There is also a risk of toxicity during breastfeeding.

Chancroid treatment recommendations have not changed since 2010. 

If Treatment is Ineffective

If treatment for chancroid fails, your doctor may want to test you for other STDs. Specifically, they may want to test you for HIV. Individuals who are coinfected with both HIV and chancroid are not only harder to treat. They may also have more severe symptoms. Therefore, it important to look for other infections after a treatment failure.That's particularly true since chancroid is becoming increasingly rare in the U.S. It generally only occurs in sporadic outbreaks. However, it is somewhat more common in Africa and the Caribbean.

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Article Sources

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2010. MMWR 2010;59(No. RR-12). Accessed 7/19/2014 from:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2015. Accessed 1/2/2016 from: