COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.
To help stop the spread of coronavirus, everyone has been asked to continue to follow the health advice on hse.ie.
While there is no evidence that coronavirus can be sexually transmitted, it can be passed on through close contact with someone who has the virus.
Remember: Proper hand washing, respiratory hygiene and physical distancing are even more important as coronavirus restrictions are eased. Don’t ignore or delay seeking medical advice if you have symptoms. Phone your GP or Out of Hours services to discuss. If you are feeling very unwell, phone 112 or 999.
You may not know if someone has coronavirus. Being sexually active with another person involves some risk of coronavirus transmission, especially as some people may have no symptoms while they are infectious. You can reduce this risk by following the advice below.
Before deciding to engage in online sexual activity including sexting, consider the possible risks. There are a number of safety issues you should think through in advance. Read more about this here.
Remember close sexual contact with anyone you are not living with can put you and others at risk of coronavirus.
Avoid sexual activity and especially kissing if you or your partner has symptoms of coronavirus, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or loss of smell or taste. Anyone with common symptoms of coronavirus should self-isolate and phone their GP or Out of Hours services straight away to get a coronavirus test.
If you have been identified as a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19, you will need to restrict your movements for 14 days after your last contact with the person who has COVID-19 and you will be referred for testing, even if you have no symptoms.
It’s important to be particularly careful if you or your sexual partner has an underlying medical condition, as you are more likely to become very ill if you get coronavirus. These include lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, or a weakened immune system. Find out more about at-risk groups.
Many public STI services are providing services at a limited capacity and others are not currently providing services due to coronavirus. Contact your local STI clinic or GP to check their testing service availability. Find out more about these restrictions.
My Options provides support and information for those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. The service continues to operate as normal during this time. Freephone 1800 828 010 or visit myoptions.ie.
HSE-funded, face-to-face unplanned pregnancy counselling services have moved their services to phone or remote support. They continue to provide the same level of service. You can find their contact details on myoptions.ie.
Abortion services will continue to be provided. During the current COVID-19 public health emergency, it may not be possible or suitable for you to attend a doctor in person to access abortion services. You can have your pre-abortion consultation by phone or video link with a doctor. Find out more information on myoptions.ie.
As well as protecting yourself from coronavirus, it is important to take the usual safer sex precautions to protect yourself from unplanned pregnancy, STIs and HIV.
There is no evidence to suggest that people on PrEP or HIV treatment have additional protection against coronavirus.
Sexual activity should only ever be between consenting adults who have the legal capacity to make the decision.
The legal age of sexual consent in Ireland is 17. Consent to sexual activity requires communication to make sure you and your partner understand each other and are in agreement about the sexual act.
Even if you consent to a sexual act, you can change your mind before the act begins or at any time before it ends.
Information provided by HSE Sexual Health & Crisis Pregnancy Programme.
If your organisation is offering supports for women or has resources relevant to women during COVID-19 please email them to Silke at firstname.lastname@example.org