Covid-19: Is there a Risk of Getting Infected through Sex?

In the wake of the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States have advised the public to practise social distancing as one of the ways to prevent the spread of the disease. This is because the virus is mostly transferred through human-to-human transmission.

Following WHO’s advice, there have been ongoing discussions of the impact of the Covid-19 on sexual reproductive health. There are claims that one may contract the disease by having sexual intercourse with an infected person, since sex is a close contact activity.

This is because Covid-19 is described as novel, which means that not much is known about it and thus researchers are still trying to figure out other unknown features of the virus. As at now, there is no scientific evidence that the disease is sexually transmitted. However, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and WHO, the virus may manifest as a respiratory infection with symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, breathing difficulties and shortness of breath. It is reported to spread through respiratory droplets (sneeze snot, cough residue, saliva,  and anything that could spray out of an empty mouth or nose), and these droplets according to Dr. Eric Mizuno, MD, a board certified internist at Weiss Memorial Hospital, can easily be transferred between people who are in sexual contact and undertake activities such as kissing because they are likely to leave droplets on each other.

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“There is no evidence that the Covid-19 can be transmitted via either vaginal or anal intercourse. However, kissing is a very common practice during sexual intercourse, and the virus can be transmitted via saliva. Therefore, the virus can be transmitted by kissing. There is also evidence of oral-faecal transmission of the Covid-19 and that implies that analingus may represent a risk for infection,” says Dr Carlos Rodríguez-Díaz, a community health scientist at the George Washington University in the United States.

Additionally, The Guardian, based in the UK, reports that there is evidence of oral-faecal transmission of the Covid-19 and that implies that even oral sex can get one infected.

The WHO and CDC say that the facial mask does not prevent the spread of the disease if other precautions such as frequent handwashing and social distancing are not undertaken. However, the New York City Department of Health (NYDOH) advises that care must be taken during sexual intercourse such as the avoidance of kissing (especially if your partner feels unwell). Wear a condom or dental dam as a precautionary measure.

Lastly, this is not the period of getting a new sexual partner, according to Dr Alex George an Accident & Emergency room doctor in the United Kingdom, especially since you may be unaware of where they have been, with whom they have been in contact or what sort of personal hygiene habits they have and this may increase the risk of contracting Covid-19.

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