For years, Lyme’s disease was thought to be transmitted by a tick bite exclusively. But new research is unveiling something quite troubling about this baffling condition: Lyme disease may be transmitted sexually as well; not trying to scare you but educated. This is particularly sobering given that many people have Lyme disease and don’t even know it. This is because it’s often confused with other illnesses such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or even Lou Gehrig’s disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS). A Hidden Epidemic In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that Lyme disease is much more common than previously thought, with over 300,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States. That would mean that Lyme disease is almost twice as common as breast cancer and six times more common than HIV/AIDS! Lyme as a STD? While at first it seems surprising that Lyme could be transmitted sexually, the Lyme spirochete actually resembles syphilis. And like syphilis, Lyme can imitate other infectious and non-infectious diseases In the study investigating whether Lyme could be transmitted sexually, researchers tested semen samples and vaginal secretions from three groups of subjects: 1. Random participants who tested positive for Lyme disease. 2. Married heterosexual couples practicing unprotected sex and who tested positive for Lyme. 3. Control subjects who did not have Lyme disease. The researchers found that all women with Lyme disease tested positive for Borrelia burgdorferi in vaginal secretions. Approximately half of the men with Lyme disease tested positive for Borrelia burgdorferi in semen samples. In addition, in one of the heterosexual couples with Lyme disease, both the husband and wife had identical strains of the Lyme spirochete in their genital secretions, adding more support to the theory that Lyme is a STD and that sexual transmission occurs. By contrast, every control subject tested negative for Borrelia burgdorferi in semen samples or vaginal secretions.3 The study authors were not sure why so many more women than men showed evidence of Borrelia burgdorferi in genital secretions. They hope that future studies will investigate further. “There is always some risk of getting Lyme disease from a tick bite in the woods,” internist Dr. Raphael Stricker, one of the researchers involved in the study, said in a press release. “But there may be a bigger risk of getting Lyme disease in the bedroom.