Can You Get Chlamydia Without Cheating?

Chlamydia is a widely common infection that can only be spread through sexual contact—but can you get chlamydia without cheating? To many people’s surprise, it is indeed possible to contract a sexually transmitted infection while remaining faithful. 

The definition of “cheating” can vary across relationships, but sexual contact with a person other than your significant other is widely accepted as crossing the line. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are usually spread through sex behaviors, with a few exceptions. Due to this fact, it’s understandable to suspect infidelity if your partner has a positive chlamydia test. 

But does this mean they cheated? Possibly, but it’s important to look beyond the typical stigma associated with STIs and consider the factors that make chlamydia different from other diseases. As always, if you suspect you may have contracted an STD from a partner, getting tested and treated is the best course of action in the short term. 

Does chlamydia mean your partner cheated?

Chlamydia is a notoriously asymptomatic bacterial STD and the body can take weeks before developing antibodies. For these reasons, a positive chlamydia test is not a reliable sign of infidelity, especially if you are in a new relationship. 

How do you get chlamydia without cheating?

Other than cheating, the most likely explanation for a partner’s positive chlamydia test would be that the infection was pre-existing before the relationship. The bacteria that causes chlamydia has many features which make identifying the infection fairly difficult until it starts causing problems. 


STIs are notoriously difficult to identify due to their frequent asymptomatic nature, as clarified by the CDC This means that someone can have the infection, but they may not display noticeable symptoms that would otherwise prompt them to get tested. 

Due to the absence of symptoms, it is possible that you or your partner could have had a pre-existing chlamydia infection before your current relationship. This can also be the culprit for confusing situations where one partner tests positive, while the other partner claims to not have an STD. It is possible that they are not aware of the infection. 

Symptoms Commonality  

Another aspect to consider would be the misdiagnosis of symptoms. As outlined by the CDC, when chlamydia does cause signs of infection, it is most common to experience burning urination or abnormal discharge. Both of these can easily cause confusion between UTIs and STDsdelaying awareness and treatment. 

Extended Incubation Time 

All STDs also have a period of time between contraction and the onset of infection called the incubation time. During this period, antibodies have yet to be produced in the body in retaliation to the bacteria. Most STD tests use the presence of these antibodies as indicators of a positive infection. Hence, if someone gets tested too early, the test may draw a false negative result and the chlamydia infection can develop undetected. 

In the case that your partner initially tested negative and then positive later in the relationship, this is a probable cause for such contradicting information.   

What should you do if your partner has chlamydia?

Like other STIs, untreated chlamydia can result in complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility. For this reason, early detection and prompt treatment of chlamydia are paramount to ensuring sexual health. And while infidelity is an understandable concern, a chlamydia infection does not necessarily guarantee that your partner cheated.  

If your partner should have a positive chlamydia test, you’ll want to consider chlamydia testing and treatment as well. Until treatment is completed, the CDC stresses the importance of abstaining from sexual activity. This will ensure that both of you are thoroughly treated for the bacterial infection, eliminating the risk of re-infection. 

At the end of the day, the relationship between chlamydia and cheating is largely due to STIs’ stigma. While chlamydia is only spread through sexual contact, other factors such as lack of symptoms and incubation time, suggest that you can get chlamydia without cheating.