“Safe sex” has a whole new meaning in the age of COVID-19.
A new study from researchers at Harvard University says that in order to prevent transmitting COVID-19 from one person to another, both people should be wearing a face mask while having sex.
The study also advises against kissing. Shower before and after, and clean everything with alcohol wipes or soap, says the study.
“Data are lacking regarding other routes of sexual transmission,” says the study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. “Two small studies of SARS-CoV-2–infected people did not detect virus in semen or vaginal secretions. An additional study of semen samples from 38 patients detected the virus by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction in 6 patients (15.8%). However, the relevance regarding sexual transmission remains unknown. Until this is better understood, it would be prudent to consider semen potentially infectious.”
“Although 1 study failed to detect the virus in urine samples, there is evidence that SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acids were detected in a urine sample in at least 1 patient in another study. Until this is clarified, urine should also be considered potentially infectious. SARS-CoV-2 RNA has been detected in stool samples, raising concern for fecal–oral transmission (7). It is not clear, however, whether viral RNA detected in stool is capable of causing productive infection. Moreover, these data are moot, given that any in-person contact results in substantial risk for disease transmission owing to the virus’ stability on common surfaces and propensity to propagate in the oropharynx and respiratory tract,” said the study.
The study says maybe it’s best to avoid sex altogether in the age of SARS-CoV-2. “Abstinence is the lowest-risk approach to sexual health during the pandemic.”
The study also says there are alternatives, although “having sex with persons with whom they are self-quarantining is the safest approach.”
“Patients can be counseled to engage in sexual activity with partners via the telephone or video chat services,” says the study.
The study also looks toward the future.
“For the foreseeable future, [health care providers] will need to incorporate new technological advances regarding SARS-CoV-2 into how they think about sexual health and risk. As was seen during the HIV epidemic, antibody tests may play a key role in how we evaluate sexual risk. Though we currently lack data on how long such immunity may last, those who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies could have relative immunity to the virus,” it says.
Other recommendations about sex during the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. have also been released. “In April, the Oregon Health Authority released a sex guide that went viral, just weeks after the same happened to one released by the NYC Department of Health,” Fox News reported.
Comedian Victor Dweck has also put out a video about what dating will be like in the age of COVID-19.
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