Can Lyme Disease Be Sexually Transmitted?
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is usually transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected black-legged tick. It is often characterized by fever headache fatigue a characteristic skin rash. However recent studies have suggested that it may also be transmitted through sexual contact.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi which is transmitted to humans through the bites of infected ticks. Symptoms of Lyme disease typically develop within days to weeks after the tick bite may include fever headache fatigue joint pain a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated Lyme disease can lead to severe complications including chronic joint pain heart problems neurological disorders.
Sexual Transmission of Lyme Disease
While Lyme disease is primarily known to be transmitted through tick bites there is growing evidence that it may also be transmitted through sexual contact. A study published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine in 2016 found that Lyme disease-causing bacteria can survive in sexual fluids that sexual transmission may be a more common mode of transmission than previously thought.
HIV Lyme Disease
Another study published in the Journal of Immunology Research in 2019 found that people living with HIV may be more susceptible to Lyme disease because of weakened immune systems. The study also found evidence that Lyme disease may be sexually transmitted in people living with HIV.
How to Prevent Lyme Disease
Preventing Lyme disease begins with avoiding tick bites. This can be accomplished by wearing long sleeves pants whenever possible when outside applying insect repellent checking your body for ticks after being outside. It is also important to remove any ticks as soon as possible if one is found. If you do develop symptoms of Lyme disease it is important to seek medical attention right away.
While the primary mode of transmission of Lyme disease is through tick bites there is growing evidence that it may also be transmitted through sexual contact. It is important to take measures to prevent Lyme disease including avoiding tick bites seeking medical attention if you develop symptoms. If you are sexually active concerned about Lyme disease it is important to use protection talk to your healthcare provider about your risk factors.
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