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Long term Chlamydia risk?
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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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Long term Chlamydia risk?

Hello Doctors --

15 months ago, I acquired chlamydia from an ex girlfriend. We both got treated (or so she said). After several weeks, in a moment of stupidity, I slept with her again, unprotected. She swore she was fine. I initially went to a walk-in clinic, as I didn't have insurance, so I didn't get re-tested after.

I've been with my current girlfriend, since then. She got a pap smear with her annual checkup with her gyno in September. He said everything looked fine.

Just yesterday, I went in for my first doctor's appointment in approximately 4 years. As part of my checkup, I was screened for STDs. This included a swab of my urethra, which has been red (but has looked like this for ages, so I figured that's just the way they look). My doctor said the swab's early results looked like chlamydia, but he decided to wait for my urine test to treat it.

I told all of this to my gf last night. She's very suspicious that her pap smear in the fall didn't catch any infection and she thinks this is a new infection (therefore, I cheated on her), which just isn't true. I trust she hasn't cheated on me. She's made an appointment with her doctor for early next week.

So here are my questions:

1) Is it possible to foster chlamydia between the two of us, symptom free for this long?
2) Is it possible (if unlikely) that her pap smear missed the chlamydia?
3) What are the long term implications of carrying this Miraculous Chlamydia for so long?

Thanks for your time.
300980_tn?1194933000

Welcome to our Forum.  Your situation raises many issues which I will comment on below.  

We you say "we both got treated" do you mean you and your ex or you and your GF, or all of the above?  Hopefully the answer is all of the above.

The recommended therapy for chlamydial infection is very effective, curing over 97% of all infections (but not perfect).  More importantly however, persons who have had chlamydia are, on average, more likely to get infected again than persons who have not had chlamydia so your re-infection could have potential led to re-infection, depending as much on your partner's behaviors as your own.  Thus repeat testing is a good idea.

It’s hard to know why your doctor thought you looked as though you had chlamydia.  If he/she looked under the microscope, signs of inflammation may have been present. these signs are called non-gonococcal urethritis which is sometimes (but not always) caused by chlamydia. When it is present, we treat this.  On the other hand, simple redness of your urethra is not a reason for treatment, thus testing was a good idea.  

As for your GF, if she is less than 25 years old, it is recommended that she be tested for chlamydia once a year, no matter what.  Her doctor should have been doing this at the time of her annual PAP smear.

Finally, as for your specific questions:.  
1) Is it possible to foster chlamydia between the two of us, symptom free for this long?
Chlamydia can be present for long periods of time without symptoms.  Studies have shown this to be the case for more than a year and probably longer.

2) Is it possible (if unlikely) that her pap smear missed the chlamydia?
PAP smears can sometimes also be tested for chlamydia but this is not always done.  Your GF should ask her doctor if she was tested.

3) What are the long term implications of carrying this Miraculo
us Chlamydia for so long?
I would not even worry about this until you have test results. When you and your GF have test results you may post them and I'll be happy to comment further.  

I hope these comments are helpful. EWH
4 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks so much for the reply, Doc.

My current gf is 30 -- maybe she didn't get tested for chlamydia. We'll find out.

I'll post back with results next week. Should I start a new feed for that or can I update here?
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300980_tn?1194933000
Please feel free to update here.  No need to start a new thread. EWH
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Avatar_m_tn
Hey Doctor,

Everything came back clear. Thanks for your reassurance!
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University of Washington
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