[Question #4858] Reinfection?

25 months ago
I was diagnosed with chlamydia on Jan 12, and was given the one dose Arithromycin (sp?) that day. My boyfriend was diagnosed the next day, the 13th, and given the same medication. We fooled around throughout that time, but didn't have any genital to genital contact until the 19th, which was 7 days since treatment for me and 6 days since treatment for him. We had no sexual penetration until the next day, the 20th, which was 8 days since treatment for me and 7 for him. He took his Arithromycin at about 9pm the Sunday before, and had sex at about 5pm 7 days later, which was literally a few hours before his official 7 day count. Is there a chance I am reinfected or did the medicine have time to work by then? I am also worried about the genital to genital contact we had on his 6th day since treatment, when the head of his penis touched my vagina for like a second. Should I get retreated? Or was the medicine given enough time?
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
25 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question and for your confidence in our services.  

There is little or no chance either of you reinfected the other. Although it is routinely advised that infected persons have no sex for at least a week after chlamydia treatment, that's mostly because some people might have new partnerships in the next week. Even then, azithromycin probably prevents transmission within a couple of day; 7 days is recommended to provide an extra margin of safety. There's really no problem with a mucually infected couple continuing to have sex. And certainly the brief genital contact you describe carries little or no risk; chlamydia is rarely if ever transmitted except through intercourse, i.e. with unprotected penile penetration. So there is no need for either of you to be re-treated or re-tested at this time.

Having said that, azithromycin is effective against chlamydia about 95-98% of the time -- that is, treatment fails in up to 1 person in 20-50. For that reason, all persons with chlamydia should be retested a few weeks after treatment (and not sooner than 3 weeks). You and your partner can expect negative results when retested, but better safe than sorry!

I hope this information is helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD
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25 months ago
I thank you so much for the quick response! I feel so much better knowing I have basically no reason to worry, as I am a worrier about everything and anything. So although we were off by a few hours, we technically did wait 7 days from his day of treatment, correct? Sunday to Sunday? Sorry if this sounds redundant. I've just never encountered this sort of medical problem before and am needing all the reassurance I can get. :) Thank you again!
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
25 months ago
No, those few hours don't matter at all. You could have safely started having unprotected intercourse a day or two after you both were treated. All is well -- don't worry about it!---