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COVID-19

If you believe you have Coronavirus (COVID-19), or have developed a continuous cough, have a fever/high temperature, loss of smell or taste, or have come into contact in the last 14 days with someone who has; then please do NOT come into Sandyford. For further information about Coronavirus please visit NHS Inform

 

 

 

NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde

Sex, Social Distancing and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Sex and intimate contact are risks for COVID-19 transmission.

In line with the latest Government advice to prevent COVID-19 transmission, you should only have sexual contact - including with your regular partner - if you live within the same household. You should stay 2 metres away from everyone who is not part of your household.

The new coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing how we live. Everyone is advised to stay at home and physically distance from others to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Some people with COVID-19 may have no symptoms but can still pass the virus on to others.

More detailed guidance on COVID-19 can be found on the Scottish Government website

You can also find more detailed guidance on COVID-19 from the NHS on the NHS Inform website

The information provided on this page is adapted from BASHH guidance in April 2020. These recommendations are subject to change as the situation evolves. We will update this information if the guidance changes.  

Common questions about sex and COVID-19

    How does COVID-19 spread?

    You can get infected with COVID-19 from another person who has it. The virus spreads mainly through airway droplets ( sneezing and coughing) and through directly touching contaminated surfaces. The virus can spread to people who are within 2 metres (6 feet) of an infected person who coughs or sneezes. There is more to be discovered about COVID-19 and how it spreads.

    COVID-19 has already been found in faeces (poo) of people who are infected with the virus. Although COVID-19 has not yet been found in sperm or vaginal fluid, different types of coronavirus have been found in other bodily fluids.

    Can I have sex?

    Sex with yourself, i.e. masturbation (wanking) is excellent for your physical and mental well-being. Masturbation will not spread COVID-19, especially if you wash your hands (and any sex toys) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after sex. If you use a shared computer, phone or touch screen whilst masturbating please disinfect these devices thoroughly. The next safest partner is someone you live with. Sex can be a really great way to have fun, stay connected and relieve anxiety during this potentially stressful time, if:

    • you live with your sexual partner, you are both feeling well and you both consent to sex, and
    • you haven’t been exposed to COVID-19 and are not in the “at risk” group of having a severe illness with COVID-19.

    However, if you have symptoms of COVID-19 (these include a new persistent cough or fever of 37.7°C or above) you should self-isolate for 7 days to prevent further transmissions. If someone you live with or someone you have recently had sex with (within or outside of your household) has these symptoms then you need to self-isolate for 14 days. Self-isolating means no physical contact – no hugging, kissing or sex, and have separate sleeping arrangements. Irrespective of symptoms, if you or a sexual partner has a medical condition that may lead to a more severe illness with COVID-19, you should avoid sex.

    You should avoid close contact — including sex — with anyone outside your household. If you don’t live with your sexual partner, consider moving in to the same living space temporarily. Additional travel puts your friends, family and community at risk, so make a responsible choice. Video dates, phone sex, “sexting” or chat rooms may be options for you. Don’t share images or participate in recorded content if you don’t want to.

    How can I make sex safer?

    Kissing passes on COVID-19. Avoid kissing anyone who is not part of your household. If you are going to have sex, you can reduce the harm to yourself and your partners. Condoms can reduce contact with sperm (cum) or saliva (spit) especially during oral and anal sex.

    Rimming (mouth on anus) is very likely to spread COVID-19 as the virus is present in faeces and can enter your mouth, so you should avoid it during this time. Washing before and after sex is essential. Wash your hands and sex toys with soap and warm water. Do not share sex toys during this time.

    If you access PrEP at Sandyford, this will be maintained. HIV Scotland have prepared some information that you might find helpful. 

    What about pregnancy?

    If you’re planning to avoid pregnancy, contraceptive options currently available include condoms and the contraceptive pill. Emergency contraception is available at Sandyford if you haven’t been able to access this through your pharmacy. Termination of pregnancy services are also available for women who would like to discuss their pregnancy options. If you’re considering starting a pregnancy during the Coronavirus outbreak the advice is to think carefully about the situation before making your decision.  

    What about HIV and COVID-19?

    If you are HIV negative, to prevent getting HIV:

    Having sex with partners who have HIV and have an undetectable viral load means there is no way of transmitting HIV but you can still catch other STIs or get pregnant, so condom use is advised. Sex with partners who are not already part of your household should be avoided as you should stay at home, avoiding non-essential travel and keep 2 metres apart. If you access PrEP at Sandyford, this will be maintained. HIV Scotland have prepared some information that you might find helpful.

    If you are living with HIV:

    • Your local clinic will have made arrangements to ensure your medication supply is available to be either delivered to you (with your permission) or for you (or a designated person) to collect on your behalf.
    • You are not at increased risk because of your HIV diagnosis unless you are not taking medication for HIV, but you should follow physical distancing precautions.
    • If you have a CD4 count of under 200 you are vulnerable and at a higher risk of severe illness, so you should follow physical distancing precautions.
    • If you have a CD4 count of under 50 you are considered very vulnerable and you should self-isolate for 12 weeks.

    The Brownlee clinic provides HIV treatment and care for people living in the NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde area. 

    What sexual health services can I access at this time?

    Click here to find out what services are currently available at Sandyford.

    How can I maintain social contact and wellbeing whilst physically distancing?

    Do something good in your community by helping out from a safe distance with the mutual aid of neighbourhood groups to support people in your community who might be self-isolating and need your help. Lots of organisations need volunteers, from phone befriending isolated people, ambulance brigade, HIV charities, food banks, pet fostering and more. A lot if this can be done from home too. Find out more at the Ready Scotland website.

    Information about COVID-19 for men who pay for sex

    Having sex or close contact with anyone except for a sexual partner that lives in your household, puts you at high risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 to other members of the public. It also puts anyone else you live with such as your partner or children at much higher risk of COVID-19.

    This is because of the close contact to others when having sex. People with COVID-19 can have no symptoms and still be infectious so even if someone has no cough or temperature, they can still have the virus and pass it on to you and you can pass it on to them. Condoms do not protect against COVID-19.

    If you arrange to meet someone for sex or to buy sex, you could be at risk of being charged for not observing social distancing. This could lead to a fine of £60 - £120. Everyone needs to be socially distancing at this time (keeping two metres away from others), handwashing for 20 seconds regularly and remembering to avoid touching your face. If you are going to have sex, it should only be with someone who lives in the same household as you if you both have no symptoms of COVID-19. You can reduce the harm to yourself and your partners by

    • Avoid kissing anyone who is not part of your household. Kissing passes on COVID-19. 
    • Rimming (mouth on anus) is very likely to spread COVID-19 as the virus in faeces can enter your mouth so you should avoid it during this time.
    • Washing before and after sex is essential. Wash your hands and sex toys with soap and warm water. Do not share sex toys during this time.

    If you need access to free condoms we can post them to you. We are delivering essential services only. For further details see our service updates page

     

     

    Additional Support

    Rape Crisis Scotland

    You can call 08088 01 03 02 everyday from 6pm to midnight. 

    THT Direct

    You can call 0808 802 1221 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm Monday to Friday.

    LGBT Helpline Scotland

    You can call 0300 123 2523 every Tuesday and Wednesday between 12-9pm call 0300 123 2523 every Tuesday and Wednesday between 12-9pm.