Your questions about sex and coronavirus

Does corona have anything to do with sex? And does PrEP work against corona or not? Read our answers to all your questions about sex and coronavirus.

Please note: Everybody in the Netherlands is asked to keep 1.5 meters distance. This means preferably no sex, except for sex with your own partner. Sex with yourself or from a distance (such as via video calling) is also possible. You can read here how to reduce the risk of coronavirus if you decide to have sex within 1.5 meters.

This information is based on the current medical knowledge about the coronavirus and the measures taken by the Dutch government. Current information about the coronavirus can be found at RIVM and the National Government. For medical information, check GPinfo.nl.

Do you have any other questions about sex and coronavirus? Please let us know.

Risk of corona during sex

How much risk do I run for an infection with coronavirus? This depends on where you live and how many people you have contact with. Especially in areas whit many infections at that time (so-called hot spots), the chance is higher that you will come into contact with the virus too. RIVM keeps a map with the number of infections per region.The risk also increases when coronavirus occurs in your network or that of your (sex) partner. It is therefore sensible to check together whether you know people who have corona at that time and with whom you have been in contact.

Can I still have sex, now that there is coronavirus? You can still have sex at 1.5 meters distance. For example, you could masturbate together at a distance or via the webcam. With sex within 1.5 meters, you could get or spread coronavirus. Sex with your own partner is possible. If you live together or you hang out together regularly within 1.5 meters, sex is not an extra risk. Do you want to have sex within 1.5 meters with other people? Read how to reduce the risk of coronavirus first.

Is it sensible to visit/organise house parties for sex? No. When you are with several people in one room, you need to keep 1.5 meters distance. You can never be sure nobody at the party carries coronavirus. Besides, it is temporarily forbidden to have more than 2 guests per day at your house. So do not go to sex parties for the time being. If you insist on doing this, please read first what you can do to minimise the risk as much as possible.

Does anal sex come with extra risk for corona? No. There is no proof anal sex comes with a higher risk for coronavirus than other types of sex.

How about french kissing? Yes, coronavirus can be passed on through kissing.

Do I run more risk of coronavirus in a gay sauna or darkroom? Yes, being close to several people in one room increases the chance of transmission. Whether this is a sex space or at somebody's home. To protect staff and clients as much as possible, every sex space has taken measures. Please stick to those measures.

Testing and symptoms

What are the symptoms of COVID-19 (coronavirus)? Common symptoms are: cold symptoms (cold, runny nose, sneezing), sore throat, cough, chest tightness, increased temperature or fever or sudden loss of smell and/or taste. Symptoms arise on average 5 to 6 days after infection. Sometimes symptoms only arise after 14 days. Most people develop mild to moderate symptoms and recover on their own. Do you have symptoms of COVID-19? Get tested and stay at home until you get the results. In case of a positive result, the GGD will advise you.Always call your GP or GP post (outside office hours) if your symptoms become serious. Serious symptoms include: difficulty breathing, chest pains or pressure on the chest, impaired speech or ability to move, and fever higher than 38 degrees.

My partner has symptoms that could fit corona. Can we still have sex? No. Your partner should get tested and stay inside and keep a distance until the result of the test is known. Symptoms are fever, cold, sneeze, cough, choke, loss of smell and/or taste. Both of you stay at home and keep your distance if you have symptoms too. Or if your partner has a high fever or tightness/choke. If the result of the test is negative, you do not have to keep a distance anymore. You can have sex again.

I or my partner have had coronavirus. When can we have sex again? Wait until all your symptoms have gone completely before you have sex again. Then wait another 24 hours. According to RIVM, you stop being infectuous 24 hours after your symptoms have gone.

Should my sex partner and I get tested before we have sex? No. It is not necessary to get tested if both of you do not have any symptoms. A negative test result does not give a 100% guarantee that you can safely have sex with each other. The corona test is a snapshot.Between the moment of testing and the moment you have sex, you could get infected. In the first few days after infection, and especially when you get symptoms, the chance to infect others is the highest. So pay attention to symptoms and limit your contacts with other people. You can make agreements about this with your (sex) partner.

Should I get tested for coronavirus after I've had sex? No. As long as you do not have any symptoms of coronavirus, you do not have to get tested.

Sex and COVID vaccination

I have had the coronavirus vaccine, so is it now safe for me to have sex? After you’ve had 2 vaccinations, there is only a slight chance that you will get coronavirus. But you might still pass it on. So it’s best to keep following our advice on sex and coronavirus.  

Is it safe for me to have sex with someone who has been vaccinated? If someone has had 2 vaccinations, there is only a slight chance that they will get coronavirus. But they might still pass it on. So it’s best to keep following our advice on sex and coronavirus.  

Does PrEP have any influence on the coronavirus vaccine, or vice versa? No. PrEP does not influence side effects of coronavirus vaccines, nor the other way around. It is unknown whether PrEP has any influence on the effectiveness of the vaccine, but this seems unlikely.

 

Read other questions and answers about coronavirus vaccines on RIVM.nl 

Information about HIV and coronavirus vaccines can be found at Hiv Vereniging

Medicine, drugs and alcohol

Does PrEP protect against coronavirus? No, there is no proof that PrEP prevents you from contracting coronavirus or that you would heal faster using PrEP. This rumour originated because there have been experiments with HIV medication as part of coronavirus treatment. The HIV inhibitors in PrEP are not the same. So PrEP does not work against coronavirus. Also it won't do you any harm. You can keep using PrEP to protect you against HIV.

Can I stop using PrEP, while I'm not having sex? Yes, you can always stop using PrEP and begin again later. You don't need permission from your doctor for this. Do mind the following:1. Stop taking PrEP only after you have taken at least 2 pills after the last time you had sex;
2. If you want to start taking PrEP again, start with 2 pills at the same time. If you take only 1 pill and then have sex without using condoms, you will not be fully protected against HIV;
3. Use a condom if you have stopped using PrEP and haven't started again yet;
4. Did you have sex without condoms and without PrEP? Get tested for HIV before you start taking PrEP again.
More information about PrEP can be found here.

Does HIV medication protect against the coronavirus? Little is known about this yet. But it seems that HIV medication does not protect against coronavirus. A combination of lopinavir and ritonovir as a means to fight COVID-19 has been investigated in a Chinese study. No significant effects on disease course or mortality have been found. More research is being done on the possible effect of different HIV inhibitors on the coronavirus

Are people with HIV more vulnerable for coronavirus? No. If you get treatment for HIV, your immune system is strong enough. You are also not less vulnerable for coronavirus. The same health advice applies to people with HIV as to everyone else. Make sure that you have enough HIV medication at home and request a new prescription on time.People with HIV and a weakened immune system (a low number of CD4 cells) do fall into the risk group for coronavirus. You can find more information about this at Hiv Vereniging.

Do drugs and alcohol make me more vulnerable for corona? Yes. In general, alcohol and drugs have a negative influence on your immune system. if you use drugs or alcohol a lot, your immune system may be weakened.People who smoke more often have more serious symptoms of COVID-19. Smoking tobacco and weed can make lung conditions worse. Do you have trouble with using less drugs/chems now? Look here for advice.

I find it difficult not to have sex or have less sex than usual. What can I do? Masturbation and sex at a distance (webcam/video call) might offer some relief. Mentally, you might struggle with things like:- Not having sex
- Feeling guilty when you did have sex
- Arguments with your parter about how strict you want to be with the government measures
- Trouble being at home all day
- Distance between you and your partner
Talk about this with your friends. Do you suffer from anxiety or depression? Talk about this with your GP. You can also talk with our colleagues from the AIDS STI Infolijn. Click here for contact information and opening hours. Do you often use chems/drugs with sex and are you experiencing problems with that like withdrawel problems or dependancy? there is a lot of (online) help available.

Corona and sex for money

Can I still earn money through sex? Sex work is forbidden until 19 Januari. Check the legal sex work obligations before offering sex for money. Read how to keep your customers and yourself as healthy as possible on prostitutie.nl. Also check out our tips for optimal corona-free sex.

Is the risk for coronavirus higher when I pay for sex? For paid sex the same applies as for sex in general. Mind that you will not be the only customer. Sex work is temporarily forbidden.

 

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