STDs Expert Forum
Does Chlamydia and Gonorhea cure itself over time?
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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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Does Chlamydia and Gonorhea cure itself over time?

Hi,

I am a 54 year old male. Very recently, I had vaginal unprotected sex with a woman who i have known for for a couple of years. She is divorced, and my understanding is that she only has had sexual relations with her ex husband, the last time about 6 years. (he is the only  sexual partner in her life to date before me). She works in the health care industry and believes she has been tested for STD's in the past, but I am not 100 per cent she has been.

Let us assume for now that that is true. (that is she has only had sex with one man before me, the last time 6 years agoI think I read somewhere on this Forum that both Chlamydia and Gonorrhea will clear itself in a woman after 2 to 3 years, without treatment. Is that accurate?

If so, i would assume I am not at risk for either?
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239123_tn?1267651214
Welcome to the forum.  I'll try to help.  

The quick answer to the question in the title of this thread is yes.  The immune system clears most infections over time, without treatment.  All gonorrhea and the large majority of chlamydial infections woukd be long gone after 2-3 years.

Precise data are not available; obviously it would be unethical to intentionally delay treatment to see how quickly treatable infections would clear up in their own.  Before antibiotics were developed (pre 1940s), it appeared that gonorrhea cleared up in most infected men in a few weeks and in women within 6-8 months.  Chlamydia probably lasts longer, probably up to a few months in men and a year or so in women.  After a year 90% of infections in women appear to resolve, but there is one recorded case of an infection still present 4 years later.

As far as your particular situation is concerned, it would be helpful to know your partner's age.  If she is over 30, it is statistically unlikely she has either gonorrhea or chlamydia.  Her sexual history certainly suggest a low likelihood she is infected.

So based on what I know so far, I agree you are at very low risk for either gonorrhea or chlamydia.  But if you remain concerned, you could see a doctor or clinic for testing.  You could also suggest your partner be tested.  In fact, you could do it together.  She may be as worried about your STD status as you are about hers, which would not be unreasonable.  In general, women are at hifher STD risk from their male partners than the other way around.

I hope this helps.  Best wishes--  HHH, MD
5 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you very much for your prompt response.

FYI - my partner's age is 48. She is from the Philippines and from my extensive discussions with her, and my experience with her, she seems to have had very little sexual experience. She has two children 14, and 18, that she is quite devoted to and has little time to meet men. Thus, I have no reason to doubt her background.

For me, it was more whether her ex husband may have had sexual contact outside of the marriage that could have infected her in the past. From my discussions with her, it seems unlikely, but I think it is naive on my part to rely on that. Thus, the length of time for both Chlamydia and Gonorrhea to clear became more important.

FYI - I have been fully tested for all STD's including Syphilis, HIV, Hep B and Hep C. So i have no doubt about my personal status to date. However, I will not be having any further unprotected sexual contact and will encourage mutual testing (mutual out of respect for her)

As a brief additional question: If on the remote possibility she  could be infected, if she were, do you have statistics of the chances of transmission of either Chlamydia or Gonorrhea from one unprotected contact.
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239123_tn?1267651214
Sorry, but I'm not going to help you speculate about outlandishly unlikely scenarios.  I looked at your precious thread with Dr. Hook.  It is apparent you are somewhat irrationally worried about STDs despite strong reassurance by him,probably by your own doctors, and now by me.  This is obviously a zero risk situation.  Please do your best tot stop worrying about it and move on with your life.  I wont have anything more to say.
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239123_tn?1267651214
I deleted some follow-up comments by people other than the original poster; some information was inaccurate and/or not appropriate for him.  Feel free to have a discussion on the STD community forum.
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239123_tn?1267651214
If you continue argumentative comments and to accept moderators' judgments about what diaglog is and isn't appropriate, your MedHelp priviledges may be terminated.  Your comment was not only partly inaccurate (I will not go into detail, but I stand by my STD expertise and my knowledge and understanding about PID), but was inappropriate for the questioner.  From both this and another thread, it is apparent he is at zero risk of having chlamydia or gonorrhea and his partner is at no risk of PID, and he is obviously anxious.  Your intended advice was most likely to inflame his fears to no purpose or benefit.

This isn't a debate; there will be no ongoing discussion about it.
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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Edward W Hook, MDBlank
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