Chlamydia, Herpes & Other Common STI Questions & Answers

The STI questions you were too nervous to ask, answered.

Talking about sex with anyone can feel super embarrassing. Even your most trusted confidants might make you feel too shy to ask the questions that are really on your mind. Thankfully, the internet exists to help you through this dilemma.

We here at Student Beans have answered your most personal questions about STIs, which means no more awkward conversations. This wads written by students, for students, so nothing is off the table. Scroll below to find the answer to whatever is on your mind about sex ed and STIs.

Chlamydia: common questions and answers

Chlamydia is a very common STI that infects nearly 3 million Americans every year. The most common age demographic with chlamydia are among young adults ages 14-24.

Can you get chlamydia if you have sex with a condom on?

When worn properly, condoms reduce the risk of getting chlamydia. However, you can still get it, even if your partner is wearing a condom. It is spread through semen and vaginal fluids.

How do you get chlamydia without being sexually active?

While highly uncommon, it is possible to get chlamydia without having sex. The disease can be spread through oral sex as well, and even if you rub your eye while you have infected fluid on your hands. It cannot be spread through casual contact.

Can you be immune to chlamydia?

While you cannot be 100% immune to chlamydia, you can develop a slight immunity if you’ve already contracted the infection.

Studies show that an initial infection of chlamydia, “appears to elicit a strong natural immune response that reduces substantially the susceptibility to reinfection.” (BMJ Journals)

Can you get chlamydia from smoking with someone?

No, chlamydia is not spread through fluids like saliva. Things like sharing food or drinks, coughing, sneezing, or kissing won’t spread chlamydia.

Can chlamydia go away on its own?

Potentially. Many people infected with chlamydia never experience any symptoms. It takes much longer to resolve on its own without any kind of intervening treatment. You also increase your risk of passing it on to any future sexual partners.

Can you get chlamydia from a toilet seat?

No, you cannot get chlamydia by sitting on a toilet seat. This is still considered casual contact, so there’s no need to worry about picking up an STD like chlamydia when using a public restroom.

How long does chlamydia last?

With treatment, chlamydia will clear within one to two weeks. Ensure you take all antibiotics during your treatment, and do not engage in any sexual activity in order to reduce the risk of passing the disease to your partner.

Can you get chlamydia from kissing?

No, chlamydia cannot be spread through salvia, which means you won’t contract it if you kiss someone who is infected.

Can you be a carrier of chlamydia and test negative?

Yes, but only in specific circumstances. If you test too soon after contracting chlamydia (for instance, a day after having sex with the carrier), bacteria levels will likely not be high enough to detect. This will result in a false negative test result.

Can you get chlamydia from sharing drinks?

No. Since chlamydia cannot be spread through a bodily fluid like salvia, there’s no risk of transmission if you share a drink with someone who is infected.

How long will I test positive for chlamydia after treatment?

While the infection will clear up within a couple weeks with treatment, you can still test positive for chlamydia for four weeks after you finish your treatment.

What happens if chlamydia is left untreated?

There are complications that can arise is chlamydia is left untreated for a substantial amount of time. These include:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Testicular infection (epididymitis)
  • Prostate gland infection
  • Infections in newborns
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Infertility
  • Reactive arthritis

How long can you have chlamydia before it causes damage?

The risk of damage with chlamydia doesn’t occur unless the disease is left untreated for years. Regardless, the sooner you receive proper treatment for chlamydia, the less likely any permanent damage will take place.

Can chlamydia cause infertility?

Yes, chlamydia has the potential to cause infertility, even if you have no symptoms. If left untreated, chlamydia can cause scarring and obstruction in the fallopian tubes. These complications have a risk of making a woman infertile.

How did I get chlamydia if I didn’t cheat?

There are multiple answers to this question, depending on the circumstances:

  • Your partner was already infected when they had sex with you and either did not tell you, or you did not properly use protection.
  • You contracted the disease with a previous sexual partner and showed no symptoms.
  • Your partner has other sexual partners who have contracted the disease.

Regardless of how you contracted the infection, getting treatment as soon as possible is the best route to take. It would also be worth speaking to your partner.

If I have chlamydia, will my partner definitely have it?

With proper condom usage, you can have chlamydia and not necessarily pass it to your partner. Just ensure that you use protection (condoms, dental dams) when having sex with your partner. Just be sure to inform them that you have the disease so they can make an informed decision and consent.

Common general STI questions and answers

We’ve answered any other miscellaneous questions you might have about STIs, right here. Don’t be shy—ask away!

Can you get an STD without having sex?

Yes, this is possible. Certain STIs can be spread through skin-to-skin contact, meaning you don’t have to engage in sexual intercourse to contract it. These STIs are:

  • HPV
  • Herpes
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Syphilis
  • Molluscum contagiosum

Can you get gonorrhoea without having sex?

No. Gonorrhoea is spread via vaginal, anal, or oral sexual intercourse. Proper condom use lowers the risk of contracting gonorrhoea during sex.

Can you get herpes without having sex?

Yes, herpes is one of the STIs that can be spread via skin-to-skin contact. You can still contract it by having sex, though. It can be spread via sexual intercourse, exchanging fluids (including saliva), and skin-to-skin contact.

Can you get trichomoniasis without having sex?

Yes, trichomoniasis can be spread through skin-to-skin contact. The infection is usually found in the lower genital tract.

Do any STIs go away on their own?

Of all the STDs and STIs, only four are curable:

  • Syphilis
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Chlamydia
  • Trichomoniasis

Proper treatment will cure these diseases, but they may go away on their own (albeit much slower). It’s always best to consult your doctor if you have an STD or STI so you can receive proper treatment and reduce your risk of future complications.

Other STDs and STIs are viral, meaning they are lifelong infections that can be managed, but not cured. They are:

  • Hepatitis
  • Herpes
  • HIV
  • HPV

Can you get an STD from just touching someone?

Yes, certain STDs can be spread through skin-to-skin contact. Always be sure to use proper protection, even if you’re not engaging in full sexual intercourse.

Can you get an STD from masturbating?

Nope, STDs cannot be transferred by masturbating. Contracting an STD involves passing the disease or virus from one person to another. This means you can’t give yourself an STD.

Can you get an STD from sharing a razor?

Yes, which is why you should always use your own razor. Bloodborne infections can be spread by sharing items like razors with an infected person. These include:

  • HIV
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C

Avoid using another person’s personal care items to ensure you don’t contract anything serious.

Can a urine test detect STDs?

Yes, urine tests are as accurate as bloodwork and swabs when it comes to testing for STDs. However, urine tests can only detect bacterial STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhoea. Talk with your doctor to find out which test is right for you.

What are the odds of getting an STD?

It varies widely depending on your sexual orientation, amount of sexual encounters, the STD itself, and proper condom usage. But for one heterosexual encounter, the odds are as follows:

  • HPV
    • Men: 4%
    • Women: 3.5%
  • HIV
    • Men: .05% to .1%
    • Women: .08% to .19%
  • Herpes
    • Men: 1.5 times per 10,000 sexual acts
    • 8.9 times per 10,000 sexual acts
  • Mycoplasma
    • Men and women: 20.6% to 66.7%
  • Syphilis
    • Men and women: 51.6%
  • Gonorrhea
    • Men: 20%
    • Women: 60% to 90%
  • Chlamydia
    • Men and women: 4.5%

Can you have gonorrhoea for years?

Yes. Gonorrhea can remain undiagnosed and undetected for long periods of time. Those who have carried the disease for a longer amounts of time may only begin to experience symptoms years after exposure. This is why frequent STD testing is important.

Take charge of your sexual health—find out the best ways to prevent STDs, right here.