If you have unprotected sex with someone who has Chlamydia, and no semen or sperm was present, can you still get the infection?

Great question!  Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that is usually spread through semen and vaginal fluid. It is not transmitted by blood or skin-to-skin contact.

However, there is no way to tell if semen or sperm was not present. Although your partner may not have ejaculated, something called pre-ejaculate may have been present. Pre-ejaculate (or pre-cum) is a clear, sticky fluid that is released by the penis between the beginning of arousal and ejaculation. Some males do not release any pre-ejaculate; others may release quite a bit.

Although pre-ejaculate does not contain sperm when it is produced, it can pick up leftover sperm in the urethra. This means that pre-ejaculate can contain sperm when it leaves the body, creating a risk for pregnancy.  Pre-ejaculate can also transmit STIs. So even though your partner may not have ejaculated, you can still be at risk of contracting Chlamydia.

The tricky thing about Chlamydia is that most people who contract the infection are asymptomatic – they don’t have any symptoms at all! Half of men and one in three women do not experience symptoms. For people who do get symptoms of Chlamydia, it can include

  • painful urination
  • painful ejaculation
  • pelvic pain
  • unusual discharge

It’s also possible to contract Chlamydia or Gonorrhea in the throat through unprotected oral sex. Symptoms are generally a sore throat. Flavored condoms & dental dams exist purely for protected oral sex. Check out your local clinic or pharmacy for condoms & dental dams; be sure to use them every time!

At Teen Clinic, we test for chlamydia and gonorrhea with a simple urine sample.  Because chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial STI, we recommend testing after unprotected sex or after sex with a new partner.  We also recommend testing when someone is experiencing symptoms, like itching, bleeding with intercourse, painful ejaculation or burning with urination in males, or unusual discharge.

It would be a good idea for you to come to Teen Clinic and get tested for STIs just to make sure. You can learn how to make an appointment here and talk with one of our medical professionals!