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DearSugar Needs Your Help: Where Did His STD Come From?

DearSugar and Trusting Tessa need your help. Her boyfriend of one year found out from a voluntary screen that he has an STI. Since she has a clean bill of health, her only assumption is that her boyfriend cheated on her. He denies her accusations but her friends are telling her she's being naive. Since some STIs can go undetected, who should she believe?

Dear Sugar,
On my first anniversary with my boyfriend, he got the results back from a voluntary medical checkup, which revealed that he had the STI, Chlamydia. He swears that he has never cheated on me but I have a clean bill of health. I was furious initially, but after talking things through and doing some research, (Chlamydia is known as the "silent infection") I decided that I trusted him enough to believe him. However, a couple of my close friends don't buy his innocence, and I must admit that their reasons make sense, especially since we were maintaining a long distance relationship for a few months, during which anything could have happened.

I have brought up these issues with him but his story never changes. My questioning has hurt and upset him as I had earlier assured him that I trusted and believed him. This whole thing has sparked off a series of fights in our peaceful relationship and I'm extremely upset. I know that he wouldn't hurt me, yet logic and my friends are telling me that I'm being stupid and naive. Are these doubts valid, or am I just being unnecessarily swayed by people who probably don't know him the way I do?


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Janine22 Janine22 9 years
I don't know if I can give you good advice about it, but I wouldn't assume he's cheated. Were you guys using condoms before? When is the last time he was tested? If you have any doubts about him, use condoms EVERY single time. Take this as a lesson that you always need condoms. I disagree with the previous comment, it depends entirely if you have been using condoms or not. If you have not, and you are certain that you are clean, he probably cheated. Chlamydia often has no symptoms, especially for a man, so if you were using condoms the whole time, then it is possible he had it from a previous relationhsip. But I was just wondering if you gave him unprotected oral sex, could you get it in your mouth? Just wondering, because you can get other STD's in your mouth. You should ask your doctor about it.
0danielle0 0danielle0 9 years
As far as I know, no matter how "silent" his case of the infection was, if he's had it since before you started dating, you would have caught it by now. :(
ella1978 ella1978 9 years
There are a lot of good points here. First, go back to your gyno, doctor, or a testing facility to be tested in about 3 months. They say generally that it takes that long to build up anti-bodies to the virus. Some STIs develop antibodies quicker, some take longer, but if you wait three months, and get tested again, it's probably best. Also keep in mind that this is a completely curable STI. It is important that you get tested again for two reasons. One, chlamidia is sometimes joined by it's lovely partner ghonnerra. Both STIs are easily cured with medication, but if left untreated can cause fertility problems for the female down the road. So definately get rechecked. Both of these STIs can have no symptoms for either partner, and can be there for years undetected. I believe that it takes something like 3-5 years with the infection to start causing fertility problems, but don't quote me on that number. I would ask your BF why the sudden test if you aren't sure of the answer. If it was just a normal check up with his doc, than I would think nothing of it. I agree with the other posters that say that him admitting to it, generally shows that he has good charachter. He could have totally dodged the topic and left you w/o telling. But only you can make the decision on whether to trust him or not. Also, can't stress it enough... in the future, to all of you, when you start a new relationship, make the STD talk and testing part of the relationship before the sex. (And if you are planning on just messing around with someone, and don't want to have the talk, make sure to use a condom - realize that condoms are basically worthless in the protection against HPV, and sometimes only slightly reduce the chance of contracting other STIs) And if you are someone who is casually dating, it is very important to include a through STD check with your gyno at your annual appointment. Better off safe. I'll get off my soap box again!
chakra_healer chakra_healer 9 years
Is it possible to have ANY STI/STD and not pass it on to a particular partner, which is why testing is so very important. If you do not believe him, leave. It is most important that you protect your health and mental well being. To address your disclosure of his medical condition to your friends -- it was simply wrong. Your life and health were not impacted by his STI. He is your mate of one year and what he discloses to you in confidence deserves some respect and privacy. However, since you do not believe him, hopefully you can find someone STD free and certainly invest in some pre-intimacy and frequent, every 6 months or so, STD testing. Hopefully, he will do the same, but also find someone who will not blab about his confidential medical condition to miscellaneous people.
vanillakokakola vanillakokakola 9 years
I don't think it was very smart for DearSugar to post this for us to respond to with our own secondhand knowledge. This question should've been brought to someone (a gynecologist, perhaps?) with firsthand knowledge of chlamydia so that Tessa could get a real, informed answer.
minaminamina minaminamina 9 years
I agree with the above advice that told you to talk to your gyno - ask about the STI, consider their words, and get yourself tested as well, if you didn't already. And I wouldn't consider his getting a test to be proof positive that he cheated - I get tested twice a year, at each visit to my physician, even if I'm in a committed relationship or haven't been having sex. It's just responsible, not suspicious.
Marci Marci 9 years
whitefox and dansgirl both raise two point I didn't think of when I posted earlier. One is what made him get tested in the first place? And the other is that if it had and STD for over a year but wasn't aware of it, chances are you would have gotten points to consider.
dansgirl dansgirl 9 years
The odds of him having an STD for over a year and your not contracting it seem pretty stretched, in my opinion...
Matdredalia Matdredalia 9 years
When my older cousin was a teenager she contracted the same STI from her boyfriend who was much older, married to another woman (we found out later), and a total scum bag on general principal. However, my cousin had had said infection for a ridiculously long time without even the slightest clue. My cousin had NO symptoms and didn't even know that she should get checked until the aforementioned scumbags' wife called and told her to go get checked. Unless he's given you reason to doubt him (aside from this), I would say stay with him. Things happen, and if the checkup was voluntary, I'm willing to bet that he didn't screw around.
Meike Meike 9 years
I couldn't agree more with looseseal. Cheaters are cowards and won't come forth with information that might remotely implicate them.
looseseal looseseal 9 years
A lot of people hate going to the doctor even when they notice strange and unusual things happening with their bodies. What karlotta and KathleenxCouture said about tests failing to detect something that was there is interesting. And scary. Great, now I'm going to be beyond paranoid. On the facts in the post alone, there is no way to know if he did or did not cheat. STDs going undetected until now doesn't prove that he cheated. Getting mad about it doesn't prove that he didn't. (Sorry karlotta, a cheater can get all angry and defensive - not that I think this proves Tessa's BF a cheater... you'd need more evidence than that to be certain) I do think that telling you about his STD as soon as he found out possibly points to "not a cheater". It is highly likely that an actual cheater wouldn't even bring it up until you're infected and confront him about it (like what happened to whitefox). Cheaters are cowardly little creatures whose first instinct is to hide everything to save their own hide and screw everyone else. They tend to be only found through the stinky little trail they inevitably leave behind through carelessness. They do not tend to voluntarily hand you a big fat clue bat with which you can club them over the head repeatedly.
kaenai kaenai 9 years
carak gives the best advice I've read here. between the cynical "girl, you know he cheated" and the overly optimistic "why are you being so hard on him?", it's really hard to have any idea what to do. and the fact is, you don't have all the facts, and neither does he. find out if the STD has a latency period (does it lie dormant), and how long it stays silent before inducing symptoms/antibodies (i'm in a biotech class myself - lol). but before you do that, you need to decide how you're going to handle the results of this information. if it turns out that there's no way he had it before, and he definitely cheated, what will you do? after a year, is it worth it or not to stay? and if it turns out that he didn't, how will you deal with the trust issues (that I guess you'll have to deal with anyway)? search yourself first, because in the end, the results come down to you.
carak carak 9 years
ask your gyno if it's possible that he got this before you started dating him and what the dormancy time is.
JessiShaye JessiShaye 9 years
UFshutterbug raises good points. Infections can be dormant for months and what's the harm in checking? People should routinely get tested if they're sexually active, even if the relationship is committed. You never know. It's not being bitter or untrustworthy, it's being smart and taking care of your health. So many people continue to spread STDs because no one thinks they need to routinely get checked. Only when something appears to be wrong do people run to the doctor.
jJuliet jJuliet 9 years
There's always the possibility of a false positive.
ufshutterbabe ufshutterbabe 9 years
Let's clear up this myth that "he must have a reason for getting tested, people don't just randomly get tested for no reason." Some doctors will suggest that as part of a routine physical for sexually active patients. And, as this whole post illustrates, even if you THINK you haven't been exposed to and STD, you may have anyway. It shouldn't raise suspicion or defame your character to be tested for STDs - its a necessary part of being a sexually active responsible adult.
whitefox whitefox 9 years
Trusint Tessa: I'm sorry that you have to deal with this,but I have had to, as well. My ex cheated on me and gave me chlamydia, as well. He tried to convince me that he got it from a moist towel at a theme park or something. We had several arguments about it - my instincts knew he cheated - but he continued to assert his innocence. He also got righteously indignant and very angy that I wouldn't trust him. (Of course, I was angry that he would insult my intelligence with such a lame story). It turns out he cheated then and many other times. DON'T let heim talk you out of your instincts. They are correct!! I wish I had trusted mine!!! Also, if he was tested, why?? People don't randomly get checked for STD's without reason. You must have some doubts about your time apart. And, although the other citizens were correct about chlamydia, he was clearly worried enough to get checked. And also he has not been practicing safe sex. Something that no one is addressing is the use of condoms - I hope you are using them EVERY time, since you are sexually active. Your boyfriend is obviously not careful with his health and has put himself and, now, has put your health at risk. Sexually transmited diseases are not only uncomfortable and embarrasing, many can leave you infertile among many other serious conditions. It seems the media and people forget about AIDs and other serious STDs. This is a big reason promiscuity is bad - aside from any moral issues. Please take care of yourself and I hope that others are reminded that until you are in a real, committed relationship, you must take charge of your sexual health and behaviors. If guys don't like it - they're not worthy of you!! Good Luck
caryatid caryatid 9 years
hard to say, since guys are more likely to be asymptomatic than girls, which isn't exactly awesome for us, huh? it sounds like this whole thing is driving you guys apart, maybe a break is in order or talking with a counselor if you seriously want to try to make it work. i think it will be hard to rebuild trust on both sides, no matter who is in the wrong.
KathleenxCouture KathleenxCouture 9 years
It is very possible that it could've gone undetected. My boyfriend told me that he had a scare once and went to get checked out (this was long before him and i were together) but they did a series of tests on him and found nothing BUT told him to come back in 6 months to make sure that everything was alright, of course by then he had already spent more than 1,000 on tests and having no insurance didnt help but he did go back and he was clean. STIs are tested not by actually finding the virus/bacteria, but by finding antibodies AGAINST the STI, that is how the doctor knows whether you are infected or not, if you've accummulated antibodies against a bacteria or virus that otherwise would not have had contact with you it is very clear that you are infected because your body is trying to fight it (I took an intensive Microbiology course last semester at College haha) So it can take a while for your body to actually get up enough antibodies to be detected by the tests which is why sometimes doctors ask people to comee back in a few months just in case the virus hasnt built them up yet. Of course that still doesn't rule out the possibility of him cheating but you be the judge and ask yourself if there was any indication that he really could've cheated before you jump to conclusions
red4bonez red4bonez 9 years
At first I didnt want to read the whole thing even though it is not long. He gave you an STD and maybe your friends are right stop being naive. You have doubts, trust you gut. Would you forgive him if he gave you aids? C'mon. I know you said you trust him but you will always ask and there wil always be that doubt, what if h cheated on you? Good luck but I really think you should listen to your friends its not like they want to hurt you or see you get hurt. Good Luck
Berlin Berlin 9 years
First up, it depends on what you see for your future...if you truly think he's the man for you and you want to stick by him and he you, then you can get past this, he can get treatment, and just move on. But if you don't see that, then the issue of whether he cheated or not is really a moot point. So assess the situation and base it on that. Because he may actually have not cheated on you. If he's upset and hurt, then that's a good sign of his innocence, but if he's getting angry and turning it around on you, then that's an even better sign that he's probably trying to cover up a lie and is upset that you are close to finding it out, it just is a big walking reminder of his guilt. So talk it over, both of you, and decide to move past it or not, but if you do move on together, then you MUST get yourself to forgive and let live. If you keep bringing it up, then of course it will cause arguments and resentment. So if you can't forgive, then say goodbye.
Ashlyn-Rose Ashlyn-Rose 9 years
Your doubts are valid and it makes complete sense that you're feeling the way you do. But it's also possible that he's telling the truth (20-40% of men infected with Chlamydia show no symptoms). There really is no concrete solution to your problem. Trust your gut feelings here.
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
This is a tough one. I think you might know in your gut what is true, whichever truth that is. That is my experience anyway. My Ex cheated once in the ending stages of our relationship, and even if I didn't admit to myself what was obvious then it was pretty clear that I knew all along.
remedios remedios 9 years
Do you have any reason other than this to be suspicious? Were you even remotely distrusting prior to this? Before your relationship, do you know how sexually active he was and did those people get tested? Have you talked to your doctor? Are you taking this as a couple or as two separate individuals?
Marci Marci 9 years
If he hadn't been tested in awhile, it's very possible he had this before he met you and wasn't aware of it. Many STDs are asymptomatic, so how would he know if he didn't get tested routinely? But if he DID test regularly, that's where your answer would lie. Essentially, you're the only one who knows how you feel about him; if you trust him. So asking people is normal, I suppose, but it all comes down to you.
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