<![CDATA[As you probably have figured out by now, social distancing does not mean have sex as much as possible. It is also not a time to be reckless and have unprotected sex. For that reason, we must be smart and safe so that we can "flatten the curve" and reduce the amount of COVID-19 infections and unwanted STD's.
With many of us in single self isolation, it’s not surprising that many of us are wondering what this means for our sex lives.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to connect with people even if it's at a distance. AFC Urgent Care West Hartford is here to discuss how to have safe sex during this difficult time. Is there a relationship between COVID-19 and STD's? First things first.
Is sex off-limits for everyone?
For couples that already share a bed, it’s okay to have sex so long as you are checked regularly for STD’s and aren’t exposing yourselves to others that might have COVID-19. Not much changes. For those of you who are single, it can be a little tricky. “Quarantine and chill” can sound enticing for some, but for others it brings up the question “Is sex off-limits?”
During this time of isolation we need to be smart when it comes to reducing exposure of the COVID-19 virus. This means abstaining and not seeking out new partners as you don’t necessarily know where they’ve been. In addition, to this we also want you to be safe when having sex. In light of STD Awareness Month we want to help reduce the amount of people getting an STI or STD.
Staying informed about STD’s, what they are and how to prevent them is important so that when isolation is over we can resume responsible sexual activity, STD free.
Here are some facts from the CDC that you should keep in mind:
- CDC estimates that youth ages 15-24 make up just over one quarter of the sexually active population, but account for half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted infections that occur in the United States each year.
- During 2014-2018 Syphilis (all stages) cases increased by 81%
- Gonorrhea cases increased by 67%
- Chlamydia cases remained at record highs
- Congenital syphilis cases more than doubled
- Condoms cannot completely protect you and your partner from some STDs, like herpes, syphilis, or human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes genital warts and cervical cancer.
- It is important to get tested because although many STDs are curable and all are treatable, some do not show symptoms.
So to answer the question “Is sex off-limits for everyone?” The answer is Yes and No. If you are dating, you probably want to abstain, and consider the people in your lives that are at high risk for COVID-19. If you live with a partner and have not gone outside and are practicing good hygiene then the answer is yes. Just make sure that when you do that you use protection and have gotten tested for STDs if you are with a new partner.
Sooooo…. Is there a relationship between COVID-19 and STD’s?
COVID-19 is not an STD. But, having sex can contribute to getting it. It’s the fact that your bodies are close together that puts some of you at risk of getting COVID-19
We’ve seen the ongoing jokes and memes on Instagram and Facebook relating to COVID-19 and sex. But, asking people to refrain from having sex is unrealistic. Given the common risks of transmission of the COVID-19 virus, some of you are probably wondering if you can get it through sexual transmission. We can assume that almost any sexual activity could lead to its transmission due to close physical contact. But, to be clear the COVID-19 virus spreads through air droplets when infected people exhale, cough or sneeze. You can also get the virus from touching surfaces and then your face right after.
Since everyone’s immune system is different and has been reacting to the virus differently, the only reliable way to know if you or your partner are infected is through testing. You can be infected with the virus and not have symptoms.
For those of you who are young and single and think that they can’t get the virus, think again:
AFC Myth Buster: Does the new coronavirus only affect older people, or are younger people also susceptible?
People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.
How can I safely have sex without getting COVID-19
The best way to prevent the spread of STD’s and COVID-19 is to avoid close, physical contact with anyone who doesn’t live with you. This means practicing social distancing, choosing safe sexual partners and protecting yourselves from unwanted STDS. There are still things you can do to be intimate and stay safe, alone or with a partner during this pandemic:
- Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds (think of it as the new foreplay)
- Avoid Tinder and other random hook up apps that may lead to contracting a sexually transmitted disease or COVID-19
- Embrace technology!
- FaceTime with your partner to go on a virtual date or do to other intimate activities
- Practice self love
If you have already started sexually engaging with someone, you should keep track of who they are, if they’ve been tested for STD’s and where they’ve been. Ultimately, abstaining from sex is the safest option, but realistically speaking you have the power to make the right choice to prevent unsafe sex and exposing yourself to others if you have the COVID-19 virus. It can be hard, but try to remember that this pandemic won’t last forever and that practicing social distancing now will help save lives in the long run.
Get Tested today at AFC Urgent Care West Hartford
AFC Urgent Care West Hartford is here for you and your family during this time of crisis. We accept most insurances and have low self pay rates.
If you are in a new relationship since the start of this quarantine or are trying to get tested, AFC Urgent Care offers confidential STD testing. . During this time we recommend using our AFC TeleCare platform to schedule a virtual visit to speak with one of our providers about coming in for testing. Schedule a TeleCare visit here for your urgent medical needs like STD screenings, allergies, injuries and more:
If you or your partner suspect possible symptoms of COVID-19, you can also get a COVID-19 test done at our center. It’s a simple and easy process. Simply schedule a visit with us using our TeleCare service to pre-screen, and then you will receive direction on when and where to come in for testing. It takes 5-10 minutes and requires a cotton swab collection. Sign up for a TeleCare visit to get pre-screened for COVID-19 today