I am sorry for the length…I am a details guy. I am hoping that people here can help me understand something related to STI/STDs and infidelity.
I have been with my girlfriend for about 13 months now. Both early 30s. Both having gotten out of lengthy relationships prior. Her having broken up with her boyfriend about a year before we met, and during that time had several other short relationships. Me having gotten out of my relationship a bit less than that.
Within the first couple of months of our relationship, she had a couple of small BV infections. My understanding is that this is caused not by STD/STI, but by just a disruption of her ph balance based on new natural bacterias that I have vs. what she has. It seemed to settle and go away and after those couple of times, it did not reoccur. About 6 months later, (about 8 months into our relationship) she had more pain and suspected infection. She suggested that the two of us needed to go to an STI clinic.
She told me that about 5-6 years back she tested positive for cymatia with her longtime boyfriend, as well as having a bad case of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) it caused which saw her hospitalized for a couple days. She received treatment for the cymatia at that time. She explained to me that while she had taken the cymatia medication, she never went back and took the test again after to ensure the cymatia completely went away. So she was concerned because of the familiarity of what she felt that it could be cymatia again and that we should both go get checked.
I was a bit shaken. I had never had to go for an STI check before in my life. Not being familiar with cymatia, I was also suspicious of her indication that after 5-6 years, it was a possibility for it to just have been there all that time and just pop up. She had just gotten back from two months away, and while I had made four trips to visit her during those four months and had been there with her more than without her, the idea of needing to go for such a test a few weeks after her return sat uneasy with me. Not to say I suspected she cheated, but at a minimum I felt like all of the information we had shared with one another about our sexual histories over the time between our long term relationships and each other may not have been a complete or honest story.
We went to the clinic, they tested her and gave her the immediate medication treatment based on the examination, and did the 10 days test. My understanding is that the immediate medication treatment is assuming a positive to something in the 10 day test based on the physical examination results. They then tested me, and because of her symptoms, also gave me the immediate medication treatment in addition to the full on 10 day test. Her symptoms cleared up and both of us made our 10 day phone calls together to hear that we were both negative on all tests. My understanding of the 10 days test is that it tests primarily for cymatia, gonorrhea, and other bacteria (this ‘other bacteria’ category will be the crux of my question later), and then a separate test I did also included things like HIV, Hepatitis, etc. We were both all negative.
Fast forward to yesterday, 13 months into our relationship now. We had sex late Tuesday night after four days without. Wednesday morning she woke up feeling pelvic pain. I went to work, and found after she was too uncomfortable to go to work. She suspected another BV infection (which again, I understand to be not an STI/STD, but instead an imbalance caused by naturally occurring bacteria…something we thought would not happen anymore since time had passed and we thought she had gotten use to my natural bacterias by now). She went to the STI clinic where they confirmed BV (I guess that is something they can do on the spot), as well as the start, but only early stages of PID, based on puss/infection in her uterus. Because of the puss coming from her uterus, they also gave her the immediate medication treatment that I believe is assuming a positive for the results of one of the items on the 10 day test.
She then told me that I also had to now go in to get the same immediate medication treatment. So here is where I am struggling and have questions. My girlfriend is a physician, and so I try to ask her these questions. However, she gets upset and defensive for a number or reasons. I think: she feels that I don’t trust her medical say so when I ask ‘why’ questions related to her saying I need to get the treatment; she feels unnecessarily guilt or shame in the situation and so gets defensive (ie. “You don’t want to get poked with a swab? Well I had to, so why shouldn’t you?”); she feels like my questions to understand may come across as mistrust in her. If she has questions of infidelity in her mind, than that I could understand, but my question here is purely based on medical understanding I need.
So my questions: The medications that are given as immediate treatment, my understanding are for cymatia, gonorrhea, and “other bacteria” that they suspect are “likely” to show positive given the physical examination. I have not been with anyone since the last test. I believe she has not been either. My understanding is that the natural bacteria that I have that could contribute to a BV infection is not an STI/STD. As such I thought (maybe incorrectly) that the medicine treatment that the STI clinic gives us is not meant or able to ‘treat’ these natural bacterias, and that it is meant specifically for the cymatia, gonorrhea, and “other bacteria”. All of which, including the “other bacterias” are contracted through sexual contact. Is that correct? If that is correct, then knowing I have not had any other sexual contact, the medication is unnecessary for me to take (medically…not to say there isn’t value for her peace of mind), right? This of course is if the assumption that we both have been faithful holds true, or alternatively, knowing I have been faithful on my end, if I do need to take the medication then it’s a sign that I have contracted something sexually passed from my girlfriend. Am I understanding correctly?
Or maybe I am misunderstanding. If I am wrong, perhaps it is the case that the “other bacterias” the medicine treatment takes care of also includes those naturally occurring bacterias that can be the cause of the BV infection, and which are not to be contracted by sexual interaction. If that is the case, then I can understand why the medication is needed for me after all, but that raises a new question: is it really the case that my girlfriend and I could continue the rest of our lives being 100% faithful to one another and still from time to time have to end up at an STI clinic to get swabs and medication to eliminate naturally occurring non-STI bacterias so that she doesn’t develop BV infections?
Thank you so much to anyone who has taken the time to read this far. I really appreciate it. And I hope you can appreciate my concerns and I look forward to hearing your answers.