Is Lyme Disease Sexually Transmitted?

Is Lyme Disease Sexually Transmitted?

Is Lyme Disease Sexually Transmitted?

“There is always some risk of getting Lyme disease from a tickbite in the woods, but there may be a bigger risk of getting Lyme disease in the bedroom.” says Dr. Raphael Stricker

Well this debate has been going on for a long long time. Is Lyme Disease sexually transmitted? As Lyme patients debate this on all the Lyme forums a study was finally done that strongly points in the direction of “yes.”

This might help the Lyme Advocates cause in getting awareness out there about Lyme Disease. This takes Lyme Disease to a whole new level of seriousness. Of course, Lyme patients have assumed this for years, but the medical community catching up to what we believe is a whole other matter.

Here’s some excerpts from the article, “Lyme Disease May Be Sexually Transmitted, Study Suggests”

“Our findings will change the way Lyme disease is viewed by doctors and patients,” said Marianne Middelveen, lead author of the study presented in Carmel. “It explains why the disease is more common than one would think if only ticks were involved in transmission.”

In the study, researchers tested semen samples and vaginal secretions from three groups of patients: control subjects without evidence of Lyme disease, random subjects who tested positive for Lyme disease, and married heterosexual couples engaging in unprotected sex who tested positive for the disease.

As expected, all of the control subjects tested negative for Borrelia burgdorferi in semen samples or vaginal secretions. In contrast, all women with Lyme disease tested positive for Borrelia burgdorferi in vaginal secretions, while about half of the men with Lyme disease tested positive for the Lyme spirochete in semen samples. Furthermore, one of the heterosexual couples with Lyme disease showed identical strains of the Lyme spirochete in their genital secretions.

“The presence of the Lyme spirochete in genital secretions and identical strains in married couples strongly suggests that sexual transmission of the disease occurs,” said Dr. Mayne.”

Read Full Article Here

From: Culture and identification of Borrelia spirochetes in human vaginal and seminal secretions


Background: Recent reports indicate that more than 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed yearly in the USA. Preliminary clinical, epidemiological and immunological studies suggest that infection with the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) could be transferred from person to person via intimate human contact without a tick vector. Detecting viable Borreliaspirochetes in vaginal and seminal secretions would provide evidence to support this hypothesis.
Methods: Patients with and without a history of Lyme disease were selected for the study after informed consent was obtained. Serological testing for Bb was performed on all subjects. Semen or vaginal secretions were inoculated into BSK-H medium and cultured for four weeks. Examination of genital cultures and culture concentrates for the presence of spirochetes was performed using light and darkfield microscopy, and spirochete concentrates were subjected to Dieterle silver staining, anti-Bb immunohistochemical staining, molecular hybridization and PCR analysis for further characterization. Immunohistochemical and molecular testing was performed in three independent laboratories. Positive and negative controls were included in all experiments.
Results: Control subjects who were asymptomatic and seronegative for Bb had no detectable spirochetes in genital secretions by PCR analysis. In contrast, spirochetes were observed in cultures of genital secretions from 11 of 13 subjects diagnosed with Lyme disease, and motile spirochetes were detected in genital culture concentrates from 12 of 13 Lyme disease patients using light and darkfield microscopy. Morphological features of spirochetes were confirmed by Dieterle silver staining and immunohistochemical staining of culture concentrates. Molecular hybridization and PCR testing confirmed that the spirochetes isolated from semen and vaginal secretions were strains of Borrelia, and all cultures were negative for treponemal spirochetes. PCR sequencing of cultured spirochetes from three couples having unprotected sex indicated that two couples had identical strains of Bb sensu stricto in their semen and vaginal secretions, while the third couple had identical strains of B. hermsii detected in their genital secretions.
Conclusions: The culture of viable Borrelia spirochetes in genital secretions suggests that Lyme disease could be transmitted by intimate contact from person to person.

Read Full Paper Here

Other articles that point to yes

Erosive Vulvovaginitis Associated With Borrelia Burgdorferi Infection

Culture and identification of Borrelia spirochetes in human vaginal and seminal secretions

Expanded Study Confirms that Lyme Disease May Be Sexually Transmitted

Lyme Disease: Sexually Transmitted? 

Recovery of Spirochetes in Semen

The Causes of Lyme Disease

Monogamous? This STI Won’t Care

6 thoughts on “Is Lyme Disease Sexually Transmitted?”

  1. As a Wife, Registered Nurse, Graduate Student and Lyme survivor & Advocate- the title of the article gave me hope. HOPE for real research and answers regarding Lyme as a STD. However, this article only reports ONE couple had the same strain is not only irresponsible, it is miss leading. A number of circumstances could be the cause of such results.
    There are already enough speculations regarding Lyme. The Lyme Community needs responsible testing, results and reporting. What we do not need is another reason to give the politicians, health care providers and insurance companies to dismiss our point of view.

    Respectfully submitted, Melody

    1. With all due respect the title is, “Is Lyme Sexually Transmitted?” It doenst say that it is or isn’t. It is a question that we need answered and that is what this is about. The research is finally pointing to “yes” and there are many patient who will argue that it has been passed sexually, including myself. There is a list of articles presented above. We don’t know either way for now, research wise since NOONE seems to be caring enough to do research. So the point of my website is to point out that we OBVIOUSLY need research. You, as a “former” Lyme patient should know that we are begging and even protesting to try to get help and research. So each time any article comes up that shows one way or the other I will post it here.. Sorry you feel that is misleading. I really don’t understand that..but you’re entitled to your opinion.


      1. Lisa,

        I use the word survivor to represent my spirit. I am still deep in the process of treatment / healing and am by no means cured. I also do not believe anyone with Lyme Disease is ever cured.

        Food for thought: if there is no reliable blood test then why would it be so easy to detect in vaginal secretions and seminal fluid? I think it is possible that Lyme is a STD, but not because it is a spirochete.

        The point of my post was to caution you in reporting or drawing false conclusions. The quality of a research article reflects the quality of its results and the conclusions that can be made. One couple in one study does not = quality results. My point of view as stated above is quite clear, as a group Lyme Pateints and Advocates we need to exercise caution, we need to report responsibly if we want research institutes and funding agencies to take Lyme Disease seriously.

        The next person diagnosed with Lyme Disease could be them or someone they love! That in my opinion is what will gain our cause research dollars.

        Yours in health advocacy and promotion, Melody

        Sent from my iPhone

        1. Apparently we are reading different articles because there was not just one couple involved, please reread the above and I don’t like the undertone of you insinuating that we are reporting “false” studies when the above research is saying, Yes, it might be transmitted. I am not understanding still your points. Do you want me to post the research that points to yes but lie and say no, so that we can get funding? That makes no sense. And this is only touching on Lyme, there is all the different species and co infections. I think the point here is to warn people… to prepare them and keep them safe and open the door to the possiblities that it is transmittable.

          I won’t change anything because we simply are collecting articles and research that shows that Lyme might or might not be sexually transmitted, and so far, what we have found is a group of articles and research that is saying it may be. So accusing us of falsely reporting is just ridiculous, it is you who seems to be trying to present false facts here.

          There are several articles and more research listed above. Please read it. There are also other websites, in fact every Lyme website I have seen that says this, so its uncomforting that a “Lyme patient” would come to this specific website to try to “troll” and stir up trouble.

          There are different tests too. The tests we deem inaccurate are the tests that the doctors/HMOs and insurance insists that we use. The certain labs that they dictate we use. But you are a nurse and so should know this. It can be DNA tested, we can figure out the species and strains. I had my own DNA tested by Dr Burrascano, so it can be done.

          Also why would we NOT be taken seriously if it was sexually transmitted? I would think THAT alone would motivate researchers to start getting serious about research. If you think because a Lyme patient started a blog and reported that this may be sexually transmitted that all research will now shut down and Lyme patients won’t be taken seriously, well that’s just silly. It’s us who are bold enough to push this fact that WILL get it done.

          Now please, you shared your opinion and I shared mine, please move onto other websites that fit your needs. Obviously, this one is not a match. We are about getting the truth out, not covering it up.

  2. My ex-boyfriend, who I was with for 3+ years, had a severe case of Lyme Disease along with both of his sisters. Then I got sick (my first symptom was actually a serious pelvic infection with no detectable cause). A few years later, in 2010, I got married and had a baby boy. Again, 3+ years later and my husband and son both have it too. I do believe that I was bitten multiple times because we have co-infections and my ex does not; however I strongly believe that Lyme, Babesis, Bartonella, etc., are all able to be transmitted both congenitally and sexually, particularly in long-term relationships where there is constant exposure to multiple body fluids including sweat, blood, tears, saliva, etc., while also occupying the same places and spaces where ticks can be found. Each person’s immune system is certainly a factor, as many who are exposed never become ill; however these spirochetes are highly advanced and I am certain that in time this disease will be treated the same way as syphilis and HIV. Be careful!

  3. This is a very important topic, one that I hope gets resolved so we can know either way. I have to say, I’m really going to be sad if I passed this onto my husband – I already passed it to my youngest son when in my womb.

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