STDs Expert Forum
Chlamydia Exposure and Transmission
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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 Exposure and Transmission

How long after exposure to chlamydia are you contagious?  Example:  Person "A" has sex with Person "B", who has chlamydia.  Person "A" get's infected.  How long after Person "A" get's infected is he/she now able to transmit chlamydia to a third person?  12 hours?  1 day? 1 week?  

Also what are the transmission rates of chlamydia via insertive vaginal and receptive oral sex?  Which are higher?  How likely is infection through vaginal and oral?  

In women... how quickly could is spread to the fallopian tubes if not treated right away?  A week after initial exposure or weeks or months afterwards?
Thank you.
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Welcome to the Forum. I'll try to help but, as you might imagine, the sorts of questions you are asking could not ethically be studied.  Before I get to the specific questions, by way of background, please remember that while most exposures to infected sex partners do not lead to transmission of infection, trying to guess whether or not one has acquired or transmitted infection to others is a fool's task.  Far, far better to simply treat if exposure has happened.  

Infection with chlamydia takes a few days (probably at least 2-3) to become established to the point at which the organisms are growing and can be transmitted to others.  In the hours following acquisition of infection it is theoretically possible that transfer of secretions, without infection being established could lead to transmission of infection to another person. whether or not this happens in real life among people with lots of partners over a short period of time is not known.  

Vaginal sex is far more likely to lea to transmission of chlamydial infection than oral sex.  Estimates are that an infected male would infect sex partners through vaginal sex at a rate of about 40% per episode of intercourse.  With oral sex, transmission would be far lower, certainly less than 5% and some think it happens far, far less often than that.

Spread of infection from the female cervix to the upper genital tract can occur in days following exposure and the risk persists as long as the infection is present and untreated.

I hope my comments help. It sounds as though you are trying to figure the odds of having transmitted infection to a partner.  If you have infection, you should not take these risks, just notify your partner rather than taking risks with their health.  EWH
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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Edward W Hook, MDBlank
University of Alabama at Birmingham
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