As a doctor, I know that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives – including how and when we should have sex. Perhaps you are currently not living under the same roof as your partner? Or maybe you are not in a relationship but you are looking for love? Or has your partner recently tested positive for the corona virus? When and how can you safely have sex again?
The problem is that close contact can spread the virus
Here’s the problem: COVID-19, although not a sexually transmitted disease, is spread through close physical contact. This includes holding hands, hugging and kissing. The virus is transmitted in exhaled breath droplets and is also present in nasopharyngeal secretions. It also lives in the skin, for example on fingertips and under fingernails. It can get into the body through eyes, nose or mouth.
It’s hard to imagine how on earth you can have sex with a new partner and stay safe. (Without PSA, ha.)
There is current government advice on how to have sex during COVID-19 – take a look at the official Orientation guide.
When can sex be safely resumed?
Here’s the answer: In truth, like the rest of the world, we won’t be able to avoid virus transmission of COVID-19 during sex until we have a vaccine and proven effective treatment.
However, there are a few things we can do to keep the risk as low as possible:
Keep the R number low
The risk of transmission of the virus, whether due to the average daily risk or close physical contact during a sexual encounter, is determined by the R number.
The R number is the number of people who infect each person before they know they have the virus. The early stages of the pandemic have been reported to be close to 6. It has recently dropped to 0.9 in the UK. If you keep the R number low, the exponential spread of the infection within the community is stopped and the infection is kept under control. So your risk of encountering the virus is much lower.
We can only help keep the R number low by following government advice to stay at home if possible, washing hands frequently, social distancing and self-isolation.
With time and more and more people who are infected with COVID-19, we should theoretically develop further Herd immunity. The term “herd immunity” is used when there are so many people with antibodies to the infection in a population that it cannot spread.
Scientists have calculated this for herd immunity with COVID-19 60% the population must have antibodies, either because of their own persistent antibody response or as a direct result of vaccination.
What we don’t know is how many people with COVID-19 develop an antibody response and have permanent immunity. Those who develop the infection and have the worst symptoms seem to have the largest antibody response. However, antibody levels are not detectable in 10 to 20% of people with symptomatic infection. Even knowing that you have had the infection may not mean that you are not at risk of getting it again.
Track & trace apps
Track & trace apps are now available in the United States. In the United Kingdom, Trials are in progress assess the feasibility and success of these devices.
As soon as you have registered; The app notifies you via Bluetooth if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive in the last 28 days. They then isolate themselves and can be tested. The system is supported by a team of people who work as contact tracers. By tracking, identifying contacts, self-isolation and testing, the level of infection in the community is kept low.
Testing on COVID-19
Think about whether you need a COVID-19 test. Here you will find information on testing for COVID-19 – very simple.
You can test for the presence of the COVID-19 virus in two ways:
a Antigen testwho test for the presence or absence of the virus in the body, or
a Antibody test This tests your body’s immune response to the infection.
So the final answer: when can you have sex safely?
You will not be contagious during sex as long as:
They have distanced themselves socially, washed their hands and followed government advice.
You have no symptoms such as cough or fever.
You have not knowingly contacted anyone about the virus in the past 14 days.
You had a point-of-care COVID-19 antibody test
IgM and IgG negative (not yet encountered the virus) or
IgM negative and IG positive (had the virus more than 14 days ago and are now immune and are unlikely to excrete the virus.)
They recently had a negative COVID-19 antigen test and have not been knowingly exposed to the infection since then.
But remember, nothing is 100% – there is always a risk.
You risk passing the virus on if you have sex if:
You have not followed the rules for social distancing, washing hands, etc.
You are in a high-risk job like a health worker or a key worker.
You have symptoms such as cough and fever.
You have someone in your household with symptoms or who has recently tested positive for COVID-19. In this case, you need to isolate yourself for 14 days.
They had a point-of-care COVID-19 test that was being tested
IgM positive and IgG negative (you are in the first phase of the infection and actively secrete the virus)
IgM and IgG positive, which confirms that you have long-term antibodies to the infection; However, you could still excrete viruses. You still need to isolate yourself and repeat the test in 14 to 21 days to see if you now have only positive IgG.
Last word from the doctor
Relationships are not just about sex. Long-term solid relationships are close and lasting due to the close emotional ties between you. These are based on friendship, trust and shared values, hobbies and interests.
Now is the perfect opportunity to really get to know your partner and to enjoy each other’s company in a different way.
Lockdown and the virus won’t be here forever. Responsibility for sex helps prevent the virus from spreading and saves lives. And if we can finally get back to normal, how amazing will it be to regain our sexual freedom? In the meantime, the possibilities for creative emails, letters, cards, gifts, surprises and zoom date nights are unlimited!
And to survive this pandemic in the healthiest way, don’t miss it Things you should never do during the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. Deborah Lee is a medical writer with Dr. Fox online pharmacy.