Can gonorrhea or chlamydia spread through a small wound in the body?

Q. Is it possible to get gonorrhea or chlamydia from a small wound?

Answered by
Dr. N. Ashok Viswanath
and medically reviewed by Dr. K Shobana
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 09, 2021 and last reviewed on: Mar 10, 2023

Hi doctor,

Can a person get gonorrhea or chlamydia from a small wound and someone's semen touches the wound? I heard that disseminated gonococcal infection can occur when it spreads into the bloodstream and it can be dangerous. Is this the way by which gonorrhea gets into the bloodstream?



Welcome to

Yes, there are high chances of having sexually transmitted infection transmission when semen of infected individual comes in contact with open wounds and dissemination. We can never tell that it will always happen but the chances are very high. It depends upon the healing stage of the wound, cell-mediated and humoral immunity of the individual. More than gonorrhea and chlamydial infection, we need to be more concerned about syphilis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). Take care.

Thank you doctor,

I know about my partner's HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis status. I want to know whether gonorrhea can get transmitted in this way as it is not a blood-borne disease. How does DGI happen? I am trying to figure out whether I can get DGI as gonorrhea has directly contacted my bloodstream. I have a wound of one centimeter. It has been healing for a couple of days. But it looks reddish without bleeding. I heard that DGI is rare to occur when gonorrhea enters the body through the genitals or throat. But it can occur when it directly enters through a wound.



Welcome back to

Yes, I can understand. Yes, though these pathogens are not bloodborne, pathogens like chlamydia and Neisseria gonorrhea which are sexually transmitted bacterial diseases can spread through open wounds into the vascular system. This happens as the organism comes in contact with an open wound.

It gets engulfed by the macrophage or monocytes after entering the vascular system and then it gets disseminated. Instead of getting killed by the macrophage, these organisms survive and multiply inside the macrophage causing disseminated infections. The intracellular survival mechanism is implicated as one of the virulence factors for chlamydia and Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

The chance of disseminated infection increases with disorders like complement deficiency and less cell-mediated immunity. You also need to understand that disseminated gonorrhoeae infection can happen in those who got genital infection having less cell-mediated immunity and complement deficiency disorders. Transmission occurring through the throat is less because of the presence of antibacterial enzymes in saliva. Infection can happen when the individual is having any wounds or mucosal ulceration in the throat or oral cavity. I hope that it clears your doubt.

Since your wound is a couple of days aged, the chance of infection transmission is very very less. Do not be worried. Keep the wound clean and dry. Apply local antimicrobials like Povidone-iodine 10% ointment or Bacitracin powder. I hope that your doubt is cleared. Take care.

The Probable causes:

You seem to have wound exposure to body fluids.

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