Is Lupus Contagious?

Lupus is not contagious and cannot be transmitted sexually. Lupus is not a virus or bacteria and therefore is not contagious or transferable through bodily fluids. The cause of lupus is not known but it is believed to result and be triggered by several factors:

  • Genetics/Hereditary
  • Hormones
  • Environment

Lupus is an autoimmune disease, meaning the body's own immune system attacks itself. Rather than protecting the body from virus' and contagious diseases, the immune system attack the body's own healthy tissue, resulting in a further response by the immune system which appears as lupus symptoms.

Lupus Symptoms

One of the main natural responses of the immune system is inflammation, a common symptom of lupus. Any time the body suffers injury, whether it is from an impact with a blunt object, a contagious disease, infection, etc. the body naturally causes swelling in the affected area as a response to the injury. With lupus, inflammation occurs in areas that have not been injured and the immune system releases auto-antibodies into an area of healthy tissue. These auto-antibodies begin to attack this tissue, causing damage to a normally healthy area. This attack by the immune system may result in some of the following symptoms:

  • Malar Rash (facial rash)
  • Joint Pain
  • Fatigue
These are merely symptoms of the disease and are not something that can be passed on to other people. The rashes, skin irritations and other symptoms one may suffer are not harmful to others.  Lupus is contagious about as much as grey hair.

Is Lupus Contagious: Genetics/Hereditary

Studies show that you can get lupus if you have a history of lupus in the family. Because of this, some people believe that lupus is contagious, in a genetic way. For more information about this topic, read the article, How Do You Get Lupus from Genetics?

HormonesIs Lupus Contagious

Hormones don't cause lupus. An imbalance of hormones can trigger lupus flares. A lupus flare is a period of higher activity of the lupus disease that causes lupus symptoms to appear. Common times when hormones may cause a lupus flare are:

  • Puberty
  • Before the menstrual cycle
  • During pregnancy


The environment around you may trigger lupus symptoms. One of the most well known lupus triggers is sunlight. The ultraviolet (UV) rays contained in sunlight, and in fluorescent lights too, causes a reaction of the immune system due to the irritation of the skin cells. Essentially lupus causes an opposite reaction to sunburn. Rather than helping remove the dead, burned cells from the sun, the cells stay in place, causing dry, sometimes itchy areas (rash). Other common environmental factors that may trigger lupus symptoms are:

  • Sunlight
  • Smoking or Second-Hand Smoke
  • Stress or Anxiety
  • New Medication or Stopping Medication
  • Injuries or Infections

So, to answer the question "Is lupus contagious" simply: while lupus has various genetic, environmental and hormonal triggers, the lupus disease IS NOT contagious.


Comments are closed.