[Question #5653] Chlamydia transmission through water

22 months ago
Good morning doctors,
I’ll get right to the point.  I had protected vaginal sex with a lady working in a massage parlour recently,  the condom remained intact and on for the duration of the contact.  We then had a shower together and this is where it went sideways. She was cleaning her vagina and then without washing her hands she cupped her hands filled them with water and splashed all over my penis. My questions are as follows.
1. Am I at risk of chlamydia or gonorrhoea from the water splash, water may have splashed the tip of my penis
2.  Generally how long can chlamydia survive in water
3. Generally how long does chlamydia survive outside a human host
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
22 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question.

They call them sexually transmitted infecitons (or diseases) for good reason:  They are not simply infections that involve the genitals:  sex itself is required for transmission, There is absolutely no risk from the events you describe. Whatever risk you had was far higher from sex itself -- even with condom protection -- than from the events in the shower.

1) Nope, no risk at all.

2,3) I have no idea how long chlamydia, gonorrhea, or other STD bacteria and viruses may survive in water. Probably quite a long while. But this sort of event cannot possibly expose you to sufficient numbers of them to result in infection.

So no risk and no worries from the shower. Having had sex with a casual, non-monogamous partner, I can understand how you would be reassured by being tested for common STDs, with anticipated negative results. If so, you could have accurate gonorrhea/chlamydia testing (urethrla swab or urine) any time more than 4-5 days after exposure, and syphils and HIV blood tests after 6 weeks. But I recommend testing strictly for reassurance, and not because of any serious risk, especially from the shower.

I hope these comments are helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD
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22 months ago
Thanks for your reply

I’m married, is there any tangible risk to my partner from the events I describe in my question?
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
22 months ago
As I said above, there is slight risk because of unknown condom failure; no distant expert can guarantee you are not infected from the sexual activities described. The chance is very low, and if I were in your situation, I would continue sex with my wife without worry and probably would not be tested. The shower events were zero risk, as noted above.---