Medical Q&As

Chlamydia - following one night stand?

My husband admitted to me that he had a one-night stand twenty years ago. I was recently told that I had chlamydia infection after a routine smear test before having a hysterectomy. Would it have been possible to have the condition for so long without knowing?

The term chlamydia refers to infection with the organism chlamydia trachomatis. It is often referred to as the silent epidemic because it affects so many people without those people experiencing any symptoms from the infection. In the USA alone it is estimated that in excess of 4,000,000 people are affected annually. It is further estimated that up to 40% of women develop pelvic inflammatory disease as a complication of chlamydia, which can result in infertility and ectopic pregnancy due to blockage of the Fallopian tubes. Your question suggests that your husband may have acquired chlamydia infection twenty years ago in which case it is quite likely that you were infected at that time. In that scenario it would certainly be possible for each of you to repeatedly pass on the organism to the other. Chlamydia can have health consequences for men and can give rise to epididymitis therefore I would suggest that both you and your husband be treated for this infection in order to stop re-infecting each other. There would be little point in treating you alone because if your husband remained untreated you could be quickly re-infected by him.