Social distancing? Quarantines? Pandemics? These all sound very scary, and as we can see from the toilet paper hoarding alone, people are panicking. And it’s understandable – a novel infection is sweeping the globe. Health authorities around the world are asking us to stay home when possible and to wash and sanitize our hands often and correctly, among other preventive measures. However, it seems like no one’s talking about safer sex!

Follow these tips to help protect yourself and sexual partners against the coronavirus.

  1. The less social contact you have, the better. Hookups increase your risk of contracting the virus; it’s best to limit physical contact as much as possible. This includes kissing, sex, or even close talking.
  2. Kissing is high risk for spreading COVID-19. In addition, oral-fecal contact has been found to transmit the virus as well; this means anal-oral sex is a risk that you may not have realized!
  3. Facial hair is much more likely to harbor the COVID-19 virus than a bare face, so consider a shave.
  4. Jewelry on the hands like rings and watches create the perfect environment for the virus to hide. Try not to wear them for the time being.
  5. Proper handwashing is key as well! Wash in warm to hot water, scrubbing with soap for 20 seconds and rinsing the soap for 10 seconds. Besides the classic alphabet song, the chorus to Mr. Brightside by The Killers, Jolene by Dolly Parton, or Truth Hurts by Lizzo are bops that will get your hands squeaky clean.

You’ve probably also heard talk of at-risk populations. These are groups that are more likely to contract and/or experience complications from Coronavirus. According to the CDC, high-risk groups include people over 65; people with chronic health conditions; people with compromised immune systems; people who live in group residential settings (i.e. nursing homes, prisons, or dorms); and anyone who has been in contact with someone who has coronavirus. These people should take special care to avoid close personal contact. Those of us who aren’t high risk should take extra precautions to protect people who are higher risk.

Having an STD may make you more susceptible to other infections of any kind, including COVID-19, by weakening the immune system. If you have symptoms of an STD, or have had a possible exposure, it is important that you get tested as soon as possible. Though the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective’s clinic is currently closed, some Planned Parenthood locations are open, as well as Hartford Healthcare and the Department of Health.

If you have questions about safer sex, please call Kim Adamski, HIV Prevention Specialist, at 860-278-4163 x 111, or email kima@hglhc.org.

Stay tuned for more information on Love in the Age of Coronavirus on our social media sites!