Illustration of chlamydia cells against an orange background to represent chlamydia coming back after treatment

Can Chlamydia Come Back After Treatment? Yes—Here’s How

Medically reviewed by Rosanna Sutherby, PharmD on January 21, 2021. Last updated October 2, 2023. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease that can affect anyone who’s sexually active. The good news is that you can check for chlamydia at home with a home chlamydia test, and the infection is easy to treat with a course of antibiotics. However, a chlamydia infection can come back if you engage in unprotected sex with an infected sexual partner. Read on for a look at some of the ways in which chlamydia can come back.

The CDC states that repeated infection with chlamydia is especially common in women whose sexual partners have not been appropriately treated. The frequency of chlamydia infection in young women and the high rate of re-infection in a short amount of time underline the necessity for effective partner treatment and follow-up testing.

If Your Partner Did Not Get Treated

It’s important to understand that the antibiotics used to treat chlamydia (or any sexually transmitted infection) don’t work like a vaccine. They eliminate the existing chlamydia infection, but antibiotics don’t make you immune to the disease. That means that you can get reinfected by a sexual partner who has chlamydia.

If you are in a committed monogamous relationship, it’s important that your sex partner also gets tested and treated for chlamydia as soon as you receive your diagnosis. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, you and your partner may end up just passing the infection back and forth through unprotected sex until you both receive treatment.

Easily check for chlamydia from the comfort and privacy of home with the at-home chlamydia test, or try the at-home STD Test to check for 6 common sexually transmitted infections with a single test kit.

If you are not in a committed monogamous relationship, talk to any recent sexual partners to make sure that they also get tested to prevent the potential spread of the disease. You and your sex partner(s) should also get tested again about three to four months following treatment to ensure that the chlamydia infection is no longer in your system.

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If You’re Taking the Medication Incorrectly

Chlamydia is relatively easy to treat with antibiotics once it has been detected. The actual course, however, can vary from person to person. Sometimes a healthcare provider will prescribe one large dose, while other cases may require you to take antibiotics over the course of seven days.

Your healthcare provider will determine the best treatment regimen for you, but regardless, make sure you take the antibiotics as instructed and complete the full course. It can be tempting to stop early once you notice your symptoms getting better, but that can leave some lingering bacteria. Any remaining chlamydia bacteria can replicate and potentially even become resistant to the initial antibiotics—meaning you may require even more powerful medication to treat the infection.

It’s also important not to have sex while you are getting treated. While the antibiotics are usually quite effective, the infection stays in your body until the antibiotics have fully run their course. If you receive medication to treat a chlamydia infection, be sure to ask your healthcare provider how long to wait before having sex again.

Related: Chlamydia vs. UTI: What's the Difference?

Easily check for chlamydia (as well as gonorrhea) from the comfort and privacy of home with the at-home Chlamydia & Gonorrhea Test.

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  1. Chlamydia Treatment and Care. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Accessed December 21, 2022.
  2. Chlamydia trachomatis Incidence and Re-Infection among Young Women. National Library of Medicine. URL. Accessed December 21, 2022.
  3. Chlamydia. Planned Parenthood. URL. Accessed January 21, 2021.
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