Can You Transmit Lyme Disease Sexually?

Lyme disease is a bacterial disease characterized by the presence of a rash similar to bull’s eye at the site of a bite by a deer tick. Deer tick carries the bacteria named Borrelia burgdorferi and borrelia mayonii and transmits them through the bite. It enters the skin and spreads all over the body through blood. The symptoms of Lyme disease are erythema migrans (rash), fever, neck stiffness, muscular pain, joint pain, and fatigue. It can be diagnosed by ELISA test and western blot test. It can be treated with antibiotics and painkillers.

Can You Transmit Lyme Disease Sexually?

Can You Transmit Lyme Disease Sexually?

The transmission of Lyme disease is only possible through the bite of deer ticks. Every individual who is bitten by ticks does not catch the infection. There is no scientific evidence that Lyme disease can be transmitted through any other means. Studies do not support the transmission of the disease through sexual transmission. Both the sex partners are infected by the bacteria of Lyme disease when both are bitten by the infected tick. It may happen that one of the partners has not noticed the bite.

Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by bacteria namely Borrelia burgdorferi and borrelia mayonii. The causative bacteria of Lyme disease are borrelia burgdorferi and borrelia mayonii in United States and Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii in Asia and Europe. It is transmitted by a black-legged tick called deer tick. The ticks are small insects found in woodlands and grassy areas. They are so small that is not noticed through naked eyes. Moreover, when they bite a human, they do not cause pain.

Ticks feed on the blood of birds and mammals. They can cause Lyme disease only when they are attached to the human body for 36 to 48 hours or more. The bacteria enter the body through the site of the bite and spreads in the whole body through blood.

The risk factors of tick bites are-

  • The people who perform outdoor activities like gardening, hunting or hiking, etc are at more likely to expose to tick bites.
  • People who pets may carry the ticks in their home.
  • Those who walk in high grasses are at high risk of being bitten by infected ticks.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

The symptoms of the disease appear in 3 to 30 days after the bite. The symptoms can come and go.

  • Rash which resembles a bull’s eye
  • High temperature
  • Pain in the head
  • Pain in the joints
  • Pain in the muscles
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Swelling in the joints
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Bell’s palsy (facial palsy)
  • Bone pain
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Tingling and numbness in the hands and feet
  • Short term memory problems
  • Swelling in the lymph nodes

Some patients of Lyme disease may develop fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue symptoms after the infection. This condition is known as post-infectious Lyme disease. The exact reason behind this is not known but it is assumed that it may appear due to overactivity of the immune system.

Diagnosis of Lyme Disease

It is very tricky to diagnose Lyme disease as its symptoms by ELISA test followed by western blot test. The test might come negative even if you have the disease. The presence of erythema migrans on the body particularly on the site of bite confirms the diagnosis. Erythema migrans is a red rash which resembles a bull’s eye.


Lyme disease is an infectious disease marked a characteristic rash on the site of the bite of a deer tick. It is caused by bacteria named Borrelia burgdorferi and borrelia mayonii. It is transmitted only by the bite of deer ticks. Scientific studies state that it cannot be transmitted through having a sex with the infected person. If both the partners are bitten by infected ticks, then the couple can develop Lyme disease.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 5, 2023

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