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Chlamydia - Likely infection period?
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The STD Forum is intended only for questions and support pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital warts, trichomonas, other vaginal infections, nongonoccal urethritis (NGU), cervicitis, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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Chlamydia - Likely infection period?

Hi Doctor - I am male and recently been diagnosed with Chlamydia. I had unprotected vaginal sex with a girl about 18 months ago. I then went to Asia travelling for 3 months where I took 100mg Doxycycline every day for about 60 - 70 days (for malaria). Since then I had unprotected vaginal sex again with a girl about 4 weeks ago (only time since last time). I had a couple of symptoms and then got diagnosed with Chlamydia.

My questions are:
a) Would the Doxycyxline have cleared up any Chlamydia (if present) prior to Asia. Given that I had no symptoms before recently.
b) Is it most likely that the most recent partner of 4 weeks ago is the most likely source of the infection? If not, then I would have the infection for at least 18 months - 2 years without symptoms and is this likely?

Any help would be great.
Tags: Chlamydia
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Welcome to the STD forum.  Thanks for your question; I'll try to help.

Even without treatment, chlamydia probably rarely lasts as long as 18 months, especially in men.  It might happen, but usually the immune system naturally clears up the infection within a few months.  Your recent partner is the only possible source of your infection.  Absence of symptoms says nothing about duration of your infection; most chlamydial infections are asymptomatic.  To your specific questions:

a) In the very unlikely chance you had chlamydia dating to your exposure 18 months ago, the doxycycline you took for malaria prophylaxisi definitely would have cured it.

b) Your recent partner for sure is the source of your infection.  Please make sure she is aware of your diagnosis and that she gets treated.  Ideally she should be examined professionally and have a diagnostic test as well -- but for sure she needs treatment (even if she is tested with negative results).

Of course the other take-home message here is that you need to get into the condom habit for future sexual exposures, until such time as you get into a mutually monogamour relationships.

Best regards--  HHH, MD
6 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you Doctor Handsfield.

That is reassuring to know that the chances are that I haven't had the infection for an extended period.

I will be in contact with the recent partner.

Could I possibly ask one more question: does chlamydia generally clear up in women too after a few months? And what are chances of the infection leading to PID and worse? Are there generally more symptoms with PID?

Thanks again Doctor.
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239123_tn?1267651214
Chlamydia tends to last longer without treatment in women than men, but still more than half of all infections clear up within a year.  However, rare infections may last several years (4 years is the maximum documented duration).

It used to be said that 10-15% of chlamydial infections led to overt PID, i.e. with symptoms like abdominal pain, fever, etc.  However, current beliefs are that it's not that high -- maybe around 5%.  A similar proportion may have "silent" PID, i.e. tubal inflammation wtith potential long term consequences like infertility or ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you Doctor.

I realise I am probably getting my pennies worth here, but I wondered if Chlamydia would also generally clear up between 2 people in a relationship (given, of course, no other sexual contact for say, 2 years)?

Last one promise! This website has been extremely useful and I do really appreciate your time.
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239123_tn?1267651214
I imagine the spontaneous cure rate would be the same in a sexually active couple as in each person individually.  However, I cannot guarantee it -- I can imagine a scenario in which one person re-inoculates the other, prolonging his or her infection.

But I do caution you to not grasp at straws.  You seem to be looking for scenarios that would exonerate your infected partner from having other partners.  I recommend you not go there.  It is far more likely that, like you, she had sex with other people while you were apart.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you Doctor, all noted.
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