Q: Is tuberculosis a contagious, or "catchy" thing? Can you get it if you have sexual relations with a person who has tuberculosis? If someone does this, should he or she see a doctor for a TB test?
A: Tuberculosis is contagious but it is not one of the diseases transmitted through sexual relations. The explosive problem of sexually transmitted diseases includes AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes simplex, chlamydia, lymphogranuloma venereum, chancroid, granuloma inguinale, condyloma acuminata (genital warts), hepatitis, and Trichomonas.
The tuberculosis bacillus is transmitted through droplets expelled into the air by an infected person during normal breathing, while talking or sneezing, but especially when coughing. The number of TB organisms excreted into the air is greatest when the disease is extensive. The risk of "catching" tuberculosis is promptly reduced once an infected person starts anti-TB treatment.