[Question #2023] STI Risk

46 months ago
Hi HHH,

Around October last year, I had protected sex with a girl (22YO), however, mid way through the condom split. On realisation of this I pulled out, but still probably had unprotected sex for around 10/15 seconds with her. The girl told me she had no STIs and that she had been checked for them recently, I therefore didn't feel concerned about continuing to have sex with my girlfriend after that. Apart from my testicles aching about 3/4 weeks after the encounter, I didn't notice any real symptoms that would indicate I had been infected with an STI and still haven't done to date. Since then, maybe a month or two after the encounter my girlfriend has noticed bleeding between periods and during sex (she has had this issue before and been checked previously with no cause for concern), this bleeding has continued on and off for the last 4 months. In the last month, she noticed a stinging sensation and a stronger smell from her vagina during sex (although the stinging sensation has only occurred once). What do you think the chances are that I have passed on an STI to my girlfriend? I understand that sometimes with men, Chlamydia can go without treatment, but this is less common in women. If i was to be tested now, and the results were negative, would this mean we were both STI free?

Thanks
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
46 months ago
Welcome to the Forum.  Clients on this site are not permitted to request who responds to their questions.  All questions regarding herpes go to Ms. Warren and Dr. Handsfield and I split all other questions.  As it happened, today I happened to pick up your question.  As an FYI, having worked closely for more than 35 years, Dr. Handsfield and I never disagree on the content of our replies although our verbal styles vary.  I will be addressing this question.

I presume the partner you had sex with in October is not the same person as the one you refer to as your girlfriend.  Even so, I suspect that your girlfriend's current problems are unrelated to the encounter that you describe.  Indeed, most people do not have STIs and your partner told you she had been checked and did not have an STI.  This combined with the absence of symptoms for several months make infection unlikely.  If your girlfriend has seen her own doctor for a sexual health check-up since your encounter, she was likely checked for STIs as well - this is pretty much standard practice in such situations.

Bottom line, the chance that you have an STI which you passed on to your GF which is causing her current symptoms is low.  You could easily reassure yourself further however by seeing your doctor or going to a local public health clinic and having a urine test for gonorrhea and chlamydia. If these are negative it is further assurance that you have not infected your partner. 

I hope these comments are helpful.  Please feel free to follow-up if there are additional questions or if some of this reply is not clear.  EWH

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46 months ago
Correct she is not the same person. Is aching testicles not a symptom though? She hasn't seen her doctor since the encounter, that was prior. What makes you so certain that these symptoms are unrelated? Is the timing wrong? Are the symptoms not typical of chlamydia?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
46 months ago
 Self-limited aching of the testicles is not a sign of an STI.   As I mentioned above this, combined with the absence of symptoms and the long duration between this episode and your current girlfriend's symptoms all indicate that this is unrelated. EWH---
46 months ago
Ok thanks for your responses. Final follow up. What are the actual chances of being infected from such an encounter, i.e. short period of penetration, male from female, 22 years old, UK?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
46 months ago
IF your partner was infected (unlikely - I would guess a less than 2-3% chance at most, probably lower) the average risk of a singe episode of vaginal sex is about 20% but would be still in your case related to the short exposure.  Then the absence of symptoms (as I mentioned, I would not consider your testicular discomfort a symptom) the likelihood would be still lower.  As I mentioned above, a urine test for gonorrhea and chlamydia could settle this once and for all. 

I hope these comments are helpful and that you will not worry.  As you know, as this is my 3rd response to your questions, this thread will be closed later today.  Take care and try not to worry.  EWH
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