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Chlamydia Confusion
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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 Confusion

Hi Doctor,
I am writing with confusion from a recent positive test for chlamydia. I have been with 2 men in my life. The first was  from age 15-27. We were each other's first and as far as I am aware (or thought I was) we never strayed, I certainly remained 100% faithful. We were last together in October of 2011. My second partner is the guy I am with now. We started our sexual relationship in January 2013. I began to bleed during sex and went to the doctor. She did a pelvic exam saying everything looked fine, my cervix looked "excited" but this was likely hormonal. She ran a test for infections and STDs just to be safe. A week later I was called to say I had a bacterial infection and started on treatment for that, but then a few days after that they called saying it was actually chlamydia... I sought immediate treatment and told my partner who did the same. The confusing part is his test came back negative!
So here are my questions:
1. Is it possible that, assuming my ex cheated on me, contracted chlamydia and passed it to me in October of 2011, that I have had this the entire time? I have felt no symptoms except for the bleeding during intercourse, so obviously didn't see that symptoms until I started this new relationship.
2. How could my partner test negative if I tested positive? Wouldn't he have contracted chlamydia from me?
3. How common are false positives - could this be the explanation? On the flip side, is there a way my partner had chlamydia it and passed it to me but by the time he was tested, had self-cured? Can you be a dormant carrier in any way?

Anyway, the biggest reason for all of this is giving us peace of mind and allowing him to trust me. It'd be easier to say I had been with someone between him and my ex, but thats simply not true. I'd love to have a medical explanation within the truth of the situation which is what I describe above so we can both have peace of mind and move on!

Thank you for your help, clarity and expertise.
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Welcome to our Forum. I'll try to help.  Before I get to your specific questions, let me provide some comments about chlamydial infections and your situation.  Chlamydial infection is not the most common reportable infection in the United States, with over 1.2 million new cases being diagnosed each year.  Because the infection is so very common and because it causes few specific symptoms in most people, annual chlamydial screening (i.e. testing in the absence of signs of symptoms) is recommended for ALL American women under age 26, irrespective of relationship status, recent sexual activity of partner change, etc.  In your own case bleeding during sex and an "angry" appearing cervix could well be manifestations of your infection.

It is also not at all uncommon for one member of a couple to have chlamydia and the other not to. There are many reasons for this including that chlamydial infection is not transmitted from person to person with every exposure, that in a minority of persons the infection can clear without treatment and, (rarely) that the tests fail to detect infection.  Any or all of these may be related to the discordance of your test results and those of your partner and, to be honest, you may never know why this has happened. What is terribly important however is that, irrespective of his negative test results, he and you should both be treated at the same time during a period of sexual abstinence (for about a week after completing therapy) to prevent the infection from "ping-ponging" back and forth between the two of you.  

With this as background, let me address the portions of your questions that I have not already  covered:

1. Is it possible that, assuming my ex cheated on me, contracted chlamydia and passed it to me in October of 2011, that I have had this the entire time? I have felt no symptoms except for the bleeding during intercourse, so obviously didn't see that symptoms until I started this new relationship.
Chlamydial infections can persist asymptomatically over long periods of time in an asymptomatic state.

2. How could my partner test negative if I tested positive? Wouldn't he have contracted chlamydia from me?
See above. he may have been infected and cleared the infection, not acquired the infection if you got it from your ex, or had a false negative test (particularly if he had a urine test or had recently taken antibiotics for something else).

3. How common are false positives - could this be the explanation? On the flip side, is there a way my partner had chlamydia it and passed it to me but by the time he was tested, had self-cured? Can you be a dormant carrier in any way?
False positives are quite rare.  I believe I have addressed the other questions above.

I hope these comments are helpful. EWH
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