NYC Health this week posted unusually straight forward and graphic safe sex advice for New Yorkers concerning COVID-19. The advice included, “You are your safest sex partner.” Dr Wendell Rosevear of Brisbane’s Stonewall Medical Centre described the recommendations as ‘sensible and no-nonsense’.
Wendell said that in Brisbane all the LGBT clinics continue to see patients but ask that intending patients phone ahead. Staff will first meet people in their cars or the car park to keep Covid-19 out of clinics. That will ensure those clinics remain open.
Dr Rosevear said, “It is vital we support each other as many lose their jobs over Covid-19.”
Here’s a lightly edited summary of the NYC Health advice.
How COVID-19 spreads
The virus can spread to people who are within nearly 2 metres of a person with COVID-19 when that person coughs or sneezes. COVID-19 can also spread through direct contact with their saliva or mucus.
COVID-19 has been found in faeces of people who infected with the virus but not yet in semen or vaginal fluid.
We know that other coronaviruses do not efficiently transmit through sex.
You are your safest sex partner
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.
The next safest partner is someone you live with. Restricting close contact — including sex —to only a small circle of people helps prevent spreading COVID-19.
You should avoid close contact — including sex — with anyone outside your household.
If you do have sex with others, have as few partners as possible.
If you usually meet your sex partners online or make a living by having sex, consider taking a break from in-person dates. Video dates, sexting or chat rooms may be options for you.
Take care during sex
Kissing can easily pass COVID-19.
Rimming might spread COVID-19. The virus in faeces may enter your mouth. Condoms and dental dams can reduce contact with saliva or faeces.
Washing up before and after sex is more important than ever. Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Wash sex toys with soap and warm water.
Disinfect keyboards and touch screens that you share with others.
Skip sex if you or your partner feels unwell
If you or a partner may have COVID-19 avoid sex and especially kissing.
Starting to feel unwell may indicate you are about to develop symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath.
If you or your partner has a medical condition that can lead to more severe COVID-19, you may also want to skip sex.
Medical conditions include lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer or a weakened immune system (for example, having unsuppressed HIV and a low CD4 count).
Prevent HIV, other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
HIV: Condoms, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and having an undetectable viral load all help prevent HIV.
Other STIs: Condoms help prevent other STIs. Visit nyc.gov/health and search STIs.
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