Medically reviewed on May 23, 2022 by Jordan Stachel, M.S., RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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Despite what you might have heard, you cannot get chlamydia from kissing. Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection that is only transmitted through anal, vaginal, and/or oral sex. It is a relatively common STI that affects around 4 million Americans every year, mostly those under the age of 25, and there is a lot of misinformation circulated about this infection.
In this article, we’ll clear the air and explain exactly how chlamydia spreads, what symptoms might look like (though oftentimes those who have it are asymptomatic), and exactly what you can and cannot contract from locking lips.
Because chlamydia cannot be transferred via saliva, you are not at risk of contracting the infection from kissing. Nonsexual contact is safe because, again, it is only spread through anal, vaginal, and/or oral sex.
However, it is worth pointing out that ejaculation does not have to occur to spread chlamydia, so anytime you are having sex without protection, you’re putting yourself at risk for any sort of sexually transmitted infection.
You cannot get chlamydia from sharing drinks. As mentioned above, chlamydia cannot be transferred via saliva, so there is no risk involved in sharing food or drinks, or even engaging in other forms of casual contact like holding hands, coughing, sneezing, hugging, or sitting on the toilet.
Chlamydia spreads through anal, vaginal, and/or oral sex. It’s carried in semen and vaginal fluids and can infect areas such as the vagina, penis, cervix, anus, and urethra, as well as the eyes and throat.
Here are some other important facts to know about the spread of chlamydia:
Many people don’t show symptoms of chlamydia. In fact, nearly 70% of women are asymptomatic and about 50% of men with chlamydia, which is one of the reasons it can spread quickly and unknowingly. It’s important to test regularly if you’re sexually active because chlamydia can be dangerous if left untreated.
If left untreated, chlamydia can have serious long-term consequences. For men specifically, possible issues could include:
If left untreated in women specifically, issues could include:
Using condoms or dental dams can reduce the risk of contracting chlamydia. It’s also a good idea to test regularly. Open the dialogue with your partner to chat about the importance of regular testing and how it can reduce any potential long-term risks.
To easily test for chlamydia from the privacy of your home, take the Everlywell Chlamydia & Gonorrhea Test. You can also check for six common sexually transmitted infections (including chlamydia) with the Everlywell at-home STD Test for women or men.
Young adults, especially those in their college years, are particularly at risk for getting chlamydia. That’s why it’s especially important to educate yourself on the causes, risks, and ways to regularly test to ensure you’re not spreading it from partner to partner. If you have any questions or concerns about HPV or other STIs, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss risk factors, treatments, and testing options.