All your questions (and our answers) concerning the coronavirus
The new coronavirus (COVID-19) is not an STI. However, it can be contracted and transmitted during sex. Here you can read our answers to the questions we receive about the coronavirus.
Please note: everyone in the Netherland is asked to keep 1.5 meters apart! So preferably do not have sex. Your partner with whom you share a household is an exception. Sex with yourself or at a distance (such as via video calling) is possible.
This information is based on the current medical knowledge about the coronavirus and the measures taken by the Dutch government. These measures have been relaxed since currently there is not much coronavirus in the Netherlands. this may change later. This text will be updated when new information arises. General information about coronavirus can be found at RIVM.
The most important measures against the new coronavirus
The most important measures people can take to prevent spreading the coronavirus, are quite simple:
- Always keep 1.5 meters distance to others
- So also preferably do not have sex. If you cannot do this, please read our advice on minimising the risk
- Your partner with whom you share a household is an exception
- You are allowed to have 3 visitors per day at home
- If you get symptoms that fit COVID-19, (fever, cold, sneezing, coughing, choke, loss of smell and/or taste) stay at home and get tested for COVID-19. Stay at home until the result is known. If you experience a fever or choke, your housemates also should stay at home. If your housemates also experience symptoms, they must also get tested. Do not have sex until the result of the test is known
- Does the test show that you do not chave coronavirus? And have you had no symptoms for the last 24 hours? Then you can go outside again. You have to wait these 24 hours because the test result is a snapshot so the result might be false
- Wash your hands often with water and soap
- Cough and sneeze in the inside of your elbow
- Use paper tissues
The new measures, including exceptions to the rules, can be found here.
How much risk do I run of getting infected with the corona virus?
This depends on where you live and how many people you have contact with. As long as the virus is still present in the Netherlands and there is no vaccine, you always run the risk of getting COVID-19 or passing it on to others. Especially in areas where many people at that time have the virus, it is more likely that you will come into contact with it. The risk also increases when coronavirus occurs in your network or that of your sexual partner. It is therefore wise to check before you have sex with each other whether you know people who have corona at that time.
The chance of transmission during sex is probably not much higher than during other activities that you do long and close together. If you decide to have sex, follow this advice to minimize your risk.
Can I still have sex, now that the coronavirus is active in the Netherlands?
You should keep a distance of 1.5 meters from others. Of course, you can't have sex at that distance. Your partner with whom you live in the house is an exception. Because you are in one household anyway close to each other. Do you still want to have sex? Than first read about how to minimise the risk of coronavirus as much as possible.
My partner is sick. Can we still have sex?
You should keep as much distance as possible if one of you has symptoms that may indicate an infection with coronavirus. So no, you can't have sex in this case. Not even if the symptoms are only mild. Your partner should get tested for coronavirus and stay indoors until the result is known. If he has a fever or is short of breath, or if you have symptoms yourself, both of you should stay at home and not have sex. If the test result is negative and you no longer experience any symptoms for more than 24 hours, you can have sex with each other and go outside again.
I'm not living together with my partner. Can we still have sex?
According to the government guidelines, you should not have sex with each other if you don't share a house. But if you regularly visit each other during this period, sleep together and so on, you are already close to each other. Sex does not pose an additional risk. Pay close attention to symptoms. If any of you have symptoms that could indicate the coronavirus, get tested and stay in your own house until these symptoms have not occurred for 24 hours. Also do this for mild symptoms such as a cold. Is one of you older than 70 years or does one of you have weakened defenses or lung complaints? Then it is extra important to protect your partner: limit your contacts with others and possibly also with each other, you do not want to bring the virus to your partner's home.
Can I have sex with other people than my partner?
To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, everyone is called upon to keep 1.5 meters distance. This also applies to sexual contacts. Do you still want to have sex? Than first read about how to minimise the risk of coronavirus as much as possible.
Should my sex partner and I get tested before having sex?
No, it is not necessary to get tested if you both have no symptoms. A negative test result does not give a 100% guarantee that you can have sex safely. The corona test is a snapshot. You can get infected between the time of testing and the time you have sex. In the first period after infection, and especially around the time that you get complaints, the chance of infecting someone else is greatest. So watch for symptoms and both limit the number of contacts with others. You can make agreements about this with your (sex) partner.
Do I have to get tested for the corona virus after sex?
No, as long as you don't have symptoms of corona, you don't need to get tested.
I have trouble not having sex for a while. What can I do?
These are strange days for everyone. Masturbation and remote sex (webam / video calling) may offer a solution. As for sex in corona time, you might struggle with things like:
- Not having sex
- Feeling guilty when you did have sex
- Disagreement with your partner about how strict you want to deal with government measures
- Difficulty sitting at home all day together
- Distance between you and your partner
You can talk to our colleagues of the Aids STI Infoline about these things. They are trained professionals who are used to having these kind of conversations. Click here for contact information.
Are you someone who often uses chems / drugs during sex and do you now have difficulty not having sex and using chems? There is help and advice available.
As saunas and sex clubs are closed, is it wise to attend or organise private sex parties?
If you are with other people in the same room, you need to keep 1.5 meters apart. It is impossible to know for sure that no one at a party carries the coronavirus. So for the time being, do NOT attend sex parties. If you do want to organise a sex party, don't let anyone join in who has symptoms of coronavirus. Make sure you have everybody's phone number and agree to let everybody know when somebody turns out to have the virus. In this way, the whole group can be warned. This of course applies to STIs too.
Can I still get tested for STIs at the GGD?
GGDs are busy fighting the coronavirus outbreak. Therefore, testing and treatment options for STDs are currently limited. Some GGDs have completely closed their STI clinic and are only open for really urgent matters. Some are open. The GGDs expect to be fully operational again from 1 September 2020. Check the website of your GGD for current information.
Can I still get tested for STIs and HIV via Man tot Man Testlab?
Unfortunately, Testlab is also temporarily closed or limited in some places due to the corona virus. Keep in mind that it may take longer for your results to arrive. It can also take longer before you can get treatment for an STI after you tested positive. You can find current information about Testlab here.
Where / how can I still get tested for STIs and HIV?
You can go to your GP for an STI test. Many GGDs are also open. If you have not had sex during the lockdown, you can postpone your six-monthly STI check. But before you have sex again, it is wise to take an HIV test first. then you know for sure what your HIV status is.
Have you been warned or do you have symptoms of an STI? Then please follow these steps:
- First check whether you can simply go to your GGD or GP. Your STI consultation and any treatment at the GP will be collected from the deductible of your health insurance. This means you have to pay for it yourself, unless your dedictible is already spent.
- If this does not work, you can do one of these two reliable STI home tests: Soapoli-online.nl or Saltrodirectlab.nl. Note: these are not free and you pay out of your own pocket. Does the test show that you have an STI? Home test providers will help you get the right treatment. This will often be through your own doctor or GGD.
Do you need to be tested for hepatitis C? This can be done with the C-Test available at NoMoreC.nl.
Does PrEP protect against COVID-19?
No. There is no evidence at all that PrEP works against coronavirus. This rumor started because of experimental treatment of COVID-19 using HIV inhibitors. The HIV inhibitors in PrEP are not the same. PrEP does not work against the coronavirus. General practitioners and GGD's are currently overloaded. So please do not ask call them to ask about PrEP right now.
Can I stop taking PrEP, now that I'm not having sex?
Yes, you can always stop taking PrEP and start using it again later. No medical intervention is required for this. Please note:
- Only stop taking PrEP 2 pills after the last time you had sex;
- If you want to start again, start with 2 pills at the same time. If you only take 1 pill and then have sex without a condom, you are not sufficiently protected against HIV
- If you have sex between stopping PrEP and starting PrEP again, use a condom. Have you had sex without a condom while not using PrEP? Then you must first have yourself tested for HIV before you can start using PrEP again.
You can find more information about PrEP at Mantotman.nl/en/prep.
Does other HIV medication protect against the coronavirus?
A combination of HIV inhibitors lopinavir and ritonovir as a means to fight coronavirus infections has been trialed in a Chinese Study. No significant effects on the course of the disease or mortality have been found. More studies are being conducted on any effects of various HIV medication on the coronavirus.
Are people with HIV more susceptible for the coronavirus?
There is no evidence that people with HIV (who are being treated for this) are more susceptible for the coronavirus than others. Neither does HIV medication protect you from infection with the coronavirus. Therefore, the same health advice applies to people with HIV as to others. Be sure to have enough HIV medication at home and renew your recipe in time. People who have a low CD4-count do fall into the new risk category for coronavirus. More information about this can be found at Hiv Vereniging Nederland.
Is the coronavirus transmissible through sex?
While the coronavirus is not an STI, you could get it while having sex with an infected person. Just like you can get a normal fever when you have sex with someone who has a fever.
It is unknown wether the coronavirus is transmittable through sperm or precum. Kissing someone who has the virus can lead to infection. Just like touching infected surfaces, and then putting your finger in your mouth or eye. Or simply by being close to someone who has the virus.
Is anal sex extra risky for coronavirus transmission?
There is no evidence that anal sex poses a greater risk for the transmission of coronavirus than other sex.
How about French kissing?
The virus is transmissible through kissing.
Am I at more risk of coronavirus transmission in a gay sauna or darkroom?
Being close to a lot of people in one room increases the chance of transmission, whether in a sex room or in another place. (gay) Saunas and bars where you can also have sex are allowed to open again. Sex clubs where you can also dance probably follow in September. To protect customers and personnel as well as possible, each location has set rules. Please stick to those rules.
Am I extra vulnerable for the coronavirus when I am hungover from a weekend with drugs, alcohol and not enough sleep?
There is no proof that a weekend of partying with drugs and alcohol has any direct effect on your chances of contracting the coronavirus, nor on the severity of the symptoms. There are indications that smoking causes more serious symptoms.
Do you use drugs and / or alcohol very often? Then you may have developed a weakened immune system. As a result, you are less well-equipped against the coronavirus. Struggling to use less drugs / chems now? Then look here for advice.
Can I still earn money with sex?
Companies that facilitate sex can open again from 1 July 2020. From this date, sex workers can also officially return to work. Read how you keep your customers and yourself as healthy as possible on prostitutie.nl and also check out our tips to have corona-free sex as good as possible.
Is the risk of contracting coronavirus higher when I pay someone for sex?
For paid sex, the same applies as for sex in general.
If you DO have sex during corona...
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