Chancroid is an STD caused by a bacteria called Haemophilus Ducreyi. It occurs most commonly in developing countries, although it does occur in the United States, too. It is more common in males than in females, but females are more likely than males to have a relatively asymptomatic (silent) presentation.
The defining symptom of Chancroid infection is the development of painful ulcers on the genitals (penis or vagina). Chancroid can also cause the lymph nodes in the groin area to swell. Painful chancroid ulcers usually develop three to ten days after infection. In females, ulcers are likely to occur inside the vagina and not be immediately visible without a pelvic examination. Females with Chancroid may also experience symptoms such as pain during urination, vaginal discharge, pain when moving the bowels, or rectal bleeding. Both men and women can experience fevers and general tiredness with the illness.
Treatment for chancroid infection involves multiple steps. Swollen lymph nodes which are filled with puss (and referred to as "buboes"), may require draining by a medical doctor. More generally, a course of antibiotics are prescribed to combat the bacteria causing the chancroid infection. A small percentage of people will get another ulcer despite taking antibiotics. In these cases, another dose of antibiotics will generally help rid them of this STD.
If you require treatment for Chancroid, you should contact your recent sexual partners and inform them of your infection, as they will require treatment even if they do not show symptoms.
As with other STDs, chancroid is communicated through the exchange of body fluids during sexual activity. You can reduce your risk of contracting Chancroid by minimizing the number of sexual partners you have and through proper use of condoms and dams, but only through abstinence will you avoid all chance of infection.