STDs Expert Forum
STDs and Arthritis
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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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STDs and Arthritis

Hi there,

I am a 30 year old female who has had some type of inflammatory arthritis which is most likely Rheumatoid Arthritis for two years now.  (My R.F. is negative, but my Anti CCP, and ANA are positive.)  

My symptoms appeared about 6 months after a relationship with a VERY high risk individual.  

The first time we had sex, I got a fever and sore throat that lasted about 2 days.  

After another time we had sex, I noticed a painless, redish colour bump on my outer labia.  

After yet another time together I had unpleasant discharge for two weeks.  

For the year after I stopped seeing him, I had 3 abnormal PAPs.  My last PAP however was fine.  

Is there any chance my arthritis is caused by a longstanding STD infection?  (Like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis?)  

I HAVE had a neg. HIV test.  

If swabs are negative, are there blood tests that can test for systemic infections?  If so could you please tell me what tests to have done for anything that poses even the remotest possibility of causing or aggravating arthritis?  

Thank you for your time, I look forward to your reply.  


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There is a chronic arthritis called "reactive arthritits" which is a rare consequence of chhlamydial infection.  It is quite distinct from RA, even seronegative RA.  If your STD tests are negative as I suspect they will be, I would urge you not to worry about your RA being somehow related to an STD and attribute it to unhappy coincidence.  SOrry I don't have more to offer.  EWH
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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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