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Can You Get Chlamydia From Kissing?

You cannot get chlamydia from kissing someone with this sexually transmitted infection. That makes kissing a totally safe and fun activity to enjoy while someone is getting chlamydia treatment. Chlamydia is most commonly transmitted through unprotected sex.

How Do You Get Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Once you are infected, this bacterium can be found in your semen or vaginal fluids.

Most people get chlamydia from having unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected partner. You can also get chlamydia if you share sex toys with someone who has chlamydia without washing them thoroughly. Expectant women can also pass chlamydia on to their babies during childbirth.

It’s unclear whether you can get chlamydia by rubbing genitals together or having your genitals touched by fingers that have infected semen or vaginal fluids on them.

Since Chlamydia trachomatis is usually present only in semen and vaginal fluid, you can’t get chlamydia from kissing, hugging, or sharing things with a person with chlamydia, including their clothes, toilets, towels, food or drinks, swimming pools or hot tubs, or beds. This is true even if these items have been contaminated with an infected person’s bodily fluids, as Chlamydia trachomatis cannot survive outside the body.

What if You Kiss Someone With a Chlamydia Throat Infection?

Although it is less common than chlamydia affecting the genitals, chlamydia can take up residence in the throat after performing oral sex or anal rimming on an infected person. However, there is still no risk you will catch chlamydia from kissing this person.

What Are the Symptoms of Chlamydia?

Chlamydia does not cause symptoms for most people. However, people who do experience symptoms may notice a range of changes in their body. These often don’t occur until weeks after you’re infected. Some of the most common symptoms of chlamydia are:

  • Burning sensations during urination.
  • More frequent urination.
  • Unusual genital discharge.
  • Sores on or around the genitals.
  • Swollen and painful testicles.
  • Pain and bleeding from the anus.
  • Stomach pains.
  • Painful intercourse.
  • Irregular vaginal bleeding after sex and between periods, in women.
  • Redness, itchiness, and a pus-like discharge, if it impacts the eyes.

If it’s left untreated, chlamydia can spread and lead to more serious health conditions including:

  • Pneumonia.
  • Cervical inflammation.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Infertility, in women.
  • Ectopic pregnancy.
  • Increased risk of contracting HIV.

How to Prevent Catching Chlamydia

Using condoms and dental dams when you have penetrative or oral sex are among the best ways to protect yourself against chlamydia. Even if you have been careful, it’s a good idea to get tested for STIs regularly to make sure you don’t have chlamydia. Since the infection often doesn’t cause symptoms, regular screening is the best way to make sure you are free of the infection and aren’t passing it on to others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages sexually-active people under 25 to get an STI test for chlamydia and other infections every year.

Women should also avoid vaginal douching because this practice reduces the number of good bacteria in the vagina. These bacteria are important for fighting off infections, including chlamydia.

How to Treat Chlamydia

If you do get chlamydia, the good news is that it is easily curable. Your care provider will likely prescribe a single dose of azithromycin or a course of doxycycline, which you will take twice daily for a week. It’s much better to get treatment as soon as you suspect you may have chlamydia to prevent serious symptoms.

You should take the full course of medications as prescribed, even if your symptoms seem to clear up early. This makes sure your body is totally free of the infection. Your care provider may like to perform an additional STI test after you complete the course of treatment to confirm that your chlamydia is gone.

After successful treatment, you can catch chlamydia again. Taking preventative measures such as using condoms will reduce the risks though. Some medical teams suggest postponing sex until a week after you finish treatment to make sure the infection is really gone.

Can You Catch Other Diseases From Kissing?

While kissing won’t give you chlamydia, you could catch other diseases from kissing infected people. These include:

  • The common cold.
  • Influenza.
  • The Epstein-Barr virus, which causes mononucleosis.
  • Strep throat.
  • Herpes simplex virus, which causes cold sores.
  • Hepatitis B.
  • Cytomegalovirus.
  • Meningitis.
  • Tooth decay.

Some of these conditions are transmitted through saliva while others will only be transmitted if you kiss someone with open cuts in or around their mouth.

Safe Kissing Techniques

The list of diseases you could get kissing might look daunting, but that shouldn’t let it scare you away from kissing someone you like. Instead, use safer kissing strategies to reduce your risk of picking up an illness or infection. These tactics include:

  • Postpone kissing if you see someone has open sores or cuts in or around their mouth.
  • Wait to kiss someone if you or they are feeling ill.
  • Avoid biting while you’re kissing, at least until you know the person is disease-free.
  • Experiment with kissing other parts of the body with reduced risk of infection, like the hands, neck, and chest.

Also, remember that the risk of contracting a serious illness or infection through kissing is very low, so you shouldn’t let any concerns stop you from having fun.

Further Reading

Is chlamydia only caught through sexual contact? NHS, November 2016.

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