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 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. 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:
- Keep 1.5 meters distance to others
- So also 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
- Meetings of more than 3 people -who do not keep their distance- are forbidden until June 1st. People who form a household together may of course be together. From June 1st, you can have more than 3 people visiting at home, they do have to keep 1.5 metres distance.
- Stay at home if you have minor symptoms, including a sore throat or a cold. Don't go to work and don't have sex. Do your symptoms include a fever? Then your entire household should stay inside
- If you do not have any symptoms of coronavirus, you are allowed to go outside. Keep 1.5 meters distance to other people.
- 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.
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. If your partner hasn't had any symptoms for 24 hours, he can be considered cured.
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, 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?
No. To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, everyone is called upon to limit social contacts as much as possible and 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.
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? Check this article.
As saunas and sex clubs are closed, is it wise to attend or organise private sex parties?
No. All meetings of more than 3 people are forbidden until the 20th of May. 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.
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. 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 in many places due to the corona virus. Testlab is temporarily closed in the regions of The Hague, Rotterdam and Gelderland-Zuid. Testlab is still active in Amsterdam and the Northern Netherlands (Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe). 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.
Where / how can I still get tested for STIs and HIV?
Do you just want to do your six-monthly STI check? Then postpone it until later.
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.
- 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 that has just been completed. 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?
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.
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.
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?
(gay) Saunas and sex clubs are closed for now. Are you in another country where these places are still open? Then it is best not to visit them. Being close to a lot of people in one room increases the chance of transmission, whether in a sex room or in another place.
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?
To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, everyone is called upon to limit social contacts as much as possible. This also applies to sexual contacts. If you occasionally earn some extra cash by getting paid for sex, it would be wise to find a different source of income. Webcam sex is a safe option. Businesses that facilitate sex are closed until at least September 1st 2020.
If you are a sex worker and your income is uncertain during this period, we recommend contacting the Dutch Emergency Fund. Would you like to support this fund? Then you can donate via www.dutchemergencyfund.nl. Sex workers who are registered as self-employed may claim the government's emergency regulation.
Is the risk of contracting coronavirus higher when I pay someone for sex?
For paid sex, the same applies as for sex in general. To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, everyone is called upon to keep 1.5 meters apart from others. This also applies to sexual contacts.
If you DO have sex during corona...
No chemsex during corona
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