Sex and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) 


The best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home and minimize contact with others. In many areas, that’s mandatory, w
hich leaves many of us asking, “What if I want to meet a guy – NOW? “What if I feel bored and/or horny?”  “What if I feel scared and anxious?”

Use the apps, videos, and texting to keep meeting guys – without meeting in person. You can even have an old-fashioned phone call.  Use this time to flirt or get to know someone better. And meet in person when all this is over. 

We’ve faced a lot of challenges as a community. We can overcome this one as well. When it comes to sex, please read the very helpful guidelines below, courtesy of the New York Department of Health.

You can also scroll down for information regarding Coronavirus for HIV-positive people, as well as for people who use drugs.

Can you have sex? 

Here are some tips for how to enjoy sex and to avoid spreading COVID-19:

You can get COVID-19 from a person who has it. 

  • The virus can spread to people who are within about 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 when that person coughs or sneezes.
  • The virus can spread through direct contact with their saliva or mucus.

We still have a lot to learn about COVID-19 and sex. 

  • COVID-19 has been found in feces of people who are infected with the virus.
  • COVID-19 has not yet been found 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. Having close contact — including sex — with 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 and avoid group sex.
  • 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.
  • Kissing can easily pass COVID-19. Avoid kissing anyone who is not part of your small circle of close contacts, ideally only those in your household.
  • Rimming (mouth on anus) might spread COVID-19. Virus in feces may enter your mouth.
  • Condoms can reduce contact with saliva or feces, especially during oral or anal sex.
  • Washing up before and after sex is more important than ever.
    o Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    o Wash sex toys with soap and warm water.
    o Disinfect keyboards and touch screens that you share with others (for video chat, for watching pornography or for anything else).
  • If you or a partner may have COVID-19, avoid sex and especially kissing.
  • If you start to feel unwell, you may be 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.
    o Medical conditions include lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer or a weakened immune system (for example, having unsuppressed HIV and a low CD4 count).
  • HIV: Condoms, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and having an undetectable viral load all help prevent HIV. For more information, click here.
  • Other STIs: Condoms help prevent other STIs. For more information on STIs, click here.
  • Unplanned pregnancy: There are multiple ways to prevent unplanned pregnancy. For more information, click here.

The PrEP team at San Francisco AIDS Foundation recommends keeping up with your PrEP routine, even if you’re not hooking up with anyone right now.

In recent weeks, we’ve heard this question from some of our PrEP clients: Should I continue taking PrEP if I’m social distancing and not having sex right now?

It’s a great question. With a “shelter-in-place” order preventing us from meeting up with partners, many people have found that their sex lives have ground to a halt.

Best option: Continue PrEP as normal 

Our perspective is this: It’s probably best if you continue your normal PrEP routine through the coronavirus crisis. If you take PrEP daily, continuing this regime even if you have no intention of hooking up with anyone in the near future will make it easier to jump back into your sex life once the shelter-in-place order lifts. Taking daily PrEP is effective and safe.

If you already take PrEP 2-1-1 (and have received counseling on how to do this accurately and safely), simply continue taking PrEP how you normally would.

Another option: Stopping PrEP 

If you do choose to discontinue PrEP, there are ways to do it safely. First, contact your PrEP healthcare provider and let them know you’d like to stop taking PrEP. Follow their guidance on how to stop PrEP–they will advise you on how many days to continue taking PrEP after your last sexual encounter.

Please note: If you stop taking PrEP, you’ll need to contact your healthcare provider and get an HIV test before you start taking PrEP again.

Another option: Switching to PrEP 2-1-1 

We don’t recommend switching to PrEP 2-1-1 if you’re already taking daily PrEP if you have not received counseling on this dosing strategy.  If you are interested in switching, discuss this option with your PrEP provider.

PrEP 2-1-1 is only effective for people having anal sex. It is not effective for people having receptive vaginal or front hole sex. At this time, there is not enough evidence to support 2-1-1 dosing with Descovy. You can learn more about PrEP 2-1-1 here.

Extend your prescription 

If you are part of a PrEP Health Program, it may be possible to extend your PrEP prescription until the “shelter-in-place” order lifts. That means your PrEP provider can continue to provide 30-day refills until the order is lifted.  For specifics regarding your care, please reach out to your healthcare provider.

Have your medication delivered 

If you’d prefer not to leave the house, many pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS are waiving delivery fees. Mail-order pharmacies can also ship your medication right to your home.

This article was originally published on SFAF.org
By Janessa Broussard, RN, MSN, AGNP-C and Felipe Flores, BA

  • Reference tips 1-6 above for sex health risks
  • Wear a mask in public
    • Whether or not you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, wear a mask while in public for your safety and the safety of others.
  • Communicate with your partners and other close contacts about your plan to stop your SIP.
  • Have an honest conversation with your sex partners, housemates, and any other close contacts about any significant exposures they may have had.
  • Reminder: People can be asymptomatic
    • It is possible to have coronavirus and not show signs of infection. Continue to practice social distancing in public.
  • Limit number of sexual partners
    • If you do have sex with others, have as few partners as possible. Avoid group sex including sex parties. You and your partner can create an exclusive ‘bubble’ where you agree to only have sex with each other for the time being and stay in communication about your COVID-19 exposure.
    • The more connected we all are, the longer the pandemic will last. This means we all need to have as few social and sexual contacts as possible.
  • Limit all contacts, maintain social distance
    • Until there is clear guidance in your area on returning to normal daily activities, continue to keep social distance from anyone outside of your household.
  • Tell your partners about a COVID-19 diagnosis
    • If you tested positive for COVID-19, tell your sex partners and housemates directly or by going to TellYourContacts.org.

MSM Sex During COVID-19 Comics

Courtesy of headsortailsnyc.com