Can Chlamydia stay dormant and go undetected even with regular pap smears?

Patient

Q: I just found out after a recent routine doctor's visit that I tested positive for Chlamydia. I have been with the same partner for over 2 years now and have been completely faithful. There is no doubt in my mind that he has been faithful as well. As such, I am having a difficult time understanding how this could have happened. I did have Chlamydia when I was 19 but I took the antibiotics and have been clean in every check up I've had since then and I'm now 27. Is it possible that it was dormant and undetected for 8 years even with regular pap smears? And if that is the case, is it dangerous that I've had it this whole time?

Doctor

A:   Thank you for your question. Chlamydia can indeed remain dormant in the body for many years. It can cause a sub-clinical infections in which you you do not experiencing symptoms.

There is a potential for it to flare up to cause a symptomatic infection, especially if there is an alteration in the persons immune system, such as a severe cold or flu.

As fare as the potential for flaring up, the only dangers that exist with this type of chlamydia infection could be the potential of spreading it to your partner via unprotected sexual contact. You will need to be treated with antibiotics to treat this infection an be retested to make sure it has been completely cleared.

Thank you for choosing AskTheDoctor.com

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