Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Advice

Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus

 

 

About coronavirus

A coronavirus is a type of virus.

Typical symptoms include a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature (37.8C or greater).

Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and people with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China. This is a rapidly changing situation which is being monitored carefully.

You can keep up to date on latest advice about coronavirus from the NHS Inform website.

Impact on SX services

Due to the ongoing situation with coronavirus, we have taken the decision to suspend all face-to-face support and testing services from SX, and to close our bases in Edinburgh and Inverness.   

These changes, which will remain in place until further notice, have been made in order to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the men using our services, along with our team of volunteers and staff 

Despite the suspension of face-to-face services, we want to ensure that those looking for information, advice and support with any aspect of the physical, mental or sexual health and wellbeing are still able to do so. 

We will continue to provide these services over phone, text, email and appswith lots more information available on this siteand through our new dedicated live chat service. 

Find out more about the impact of coronavirus on our servives here.

How do I prevent myself from becoming infected?

You can reduce your risk of catching and spreading respiratory infections like coronavirus by practising good respiratory hygiene. That means:

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands
  • Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water or alcohol hand sanitiser. You should do this after coughing or sneezing, after going to the toilet, and before eating or drinking
  • Avoid direct contact with people that have a respiratory illness where possible and, avoid using their personal items like mobile phones or pens
  • Cover your nose and mouth with disposable tissues when coughing or sneezing and, dispose of them in the nearest bin after use.

We recommend this good hand guide produced by the NHS...  

I have symptoms of coronavirus. What should I do?

If you've developed a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature in the last 7 days, stay at home for 7 days from the start of your symptoms even if you think your symptoms are mild. Do not go to your GP, pharmacy or hospital.

Phone 111 if your symptoms:

  • are severe or you have shortness of breath
  • worsen during home isolation
  • have not improved after 7 days

You should also phone 111 if you develop breathlessness or it worsens, especially if you:

  • are 70 years old or over
  • have underlying poor health
  • have heart or lung problems
  • have a weakened immune system, including cancer
  • have diabetes

If you have a medical emergency, phone 999 and tell them you have COVID-19 symptoms.

Check out the NHS Inform website which is regularly updated for further information.

What does self-isolating mean?

Like when you have the flu, self-isolating means you should stay at home, indoors and should not go to work, school or public areas.

You should avoid having visitors to your home, but it is okay for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food.

To find out more about self isolation, answers to the most commonly asked questions, visit the NHS Inform Staying at Home advice page here.

What does social distancing mean?

Social distancing refers to steps that everyone can take to help reduce the spread of coronavirus by cutting down on social interactions.

People at increased risk of coronavirus are particularly advised to follow social distancing.

You can find out lots of information about steps you can take from the NHS Inform Social Distancing advice page.

How do I keep update with coronavirus?

You can stay up to date on coronavirus in Scotland on the Scottish Government’s website here.

You can stay up to date with the latest advice and information about coronavirus on NHS Inform website here.

What is someone I'm living with has symptoms?

If you live with someone who has symptoms, you'll need to stay at home for 14 days from the day their symptoms started. This is because it can take 14 days for symptoms to appear.

If more than 1 person at home has symptoms, stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person started having symptoms.

If you get symptoms, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms start, even if it means you're at home for longer than 14 days.

If you do not get symptoms, you can stop staying at home after 14 days.

How do I look after my mental health at this time?

You might be experiencing worry or concern about coronavirus.

You can find lots of helpful advice on how to take care of your health and wellbeing from:

  • SAMH (Scottish Association of Mental Health)
  • Mind (the mental health charity)
  • And our section on mental health here

 

PrEP and Coronavirus

PrEP will contiune to be a top priority for the NHS in Scotland to reduce the transmission of HIV.

Many clinics will speed up their PrEP service to reduce risks for patients. This might include some virtual services and shorter times at the clinic.

The likelyhood is that PrEP users are likely to only be tested for HIV and syphilis. Testing for other STIs might be cut back if you don’t have symptoms.

PrEP is still very safe and effective with this reduced testing.

More information available here.

I am living with HIV, how will coronavirus affect me?

There is currently no evidence that people living with HIV are more likely to catch coronavirus than anyone else. If you’re living with HIV, you should follow the advice given to the general population.

If you are on treatment, with an undetectable viral load and a good CD4 count, then you should be at no greater risk.

If you’re living with HIV and do not have an undetectable viral load or have a low CD4 count, you should avoid situations where you may be at risk of coronavirus if the virus becomes more widespread.

To find out more click here.

What if I take drugs/chems (not prescribed)?

If you’re taking drugs that aren’t prescribed, including chems for sex, there are a few things you need to be aware of:

  • Viruses (such as the common cold, flu and hep C) and bacteria (such as E. coli and Staph), can be passed on when you take drugs with unclean or shared equipment. To help prevent the spread, you should practice good hygiene and never share your equipment. 
  • Always rest well before and after taking drugs, stay hydrated and eat nutritious meals.
  • Taking some drugs by smoking can harm your respiratory system, and may lead to an increase in your risk of coronavirus. Cutting down on or avoiding tobacco  can also help keep your lungs prepared to fight off any illness. Your local Stop Smoking Service can offer resources and advice if you want to stop or cut down.

Our friends at Crew have lots of helpful advice to help you reduce your risk of coronavirus if you are taking drugs. Read more on their website here

How does coronavirus affect the sex I have?

We do not know if coronavirus is contained in sexual fluids such as cum, pre-cum, vaginal secretions and anal mucus.

However similar to other flu-like viruses, sexual contact will likely lead to the transmission of this virus.  This is because you are in close physical contact with someone who may be carrying the virus and being intimate might expose you to it. 

If you are living with someone who might have been infected and is told to self isolate, you should follow the guidance given to the general population through NHS Inform.

If you have sex with someone and you are worried about coronavirus, you should follow general coronavirus advice and guidelines on hygiene and preventing its transmission.

If you are meeting people for sex, whether it's online hook-ups, group situations, public sex environments or other venues, don’t be afraid to ask if they have any symptoms or if they have travelled to a high risk area recently. 

If you meet other people for sex, continue to use precautions to reduce your risk of sexually transmitted infections.

Where can I stay up to date with Sexual Health Services across Scotland?

As coronavirus is a developing situation, NHS sexual health services you might normally use are changing. 

Here's where you can stay up to date how services are changing in each area, as well as finding contact details for each location:

Lothian Sexual Health Services

Lothian Sexual Health Services are providing a severely restricted service during the COVID19 outbreak.

  • They will continue to provide care for urgent problems including medical abortion, painful or distressing symptoms and sexually transmitted infections. All of their services will be accessed by phone.
  • To self-refer to the abortion service phone 0131 536 2454 between 10am to 12.30 and 1pm to 3pm, Monday to Friday
  • For all other services phone 0131 536 1070 between 10am and 12.30 and 1pm and 3pm, Monday to Friday

Condoms are still available by post for free. Click here to order yours. 

Greater Glasgow and Clyde Sexual Health Services (Sandyford Clinics)

Sandyford services are now operating a reduced service, from two locations only; Sandyford Central and Sandyford Renfrewshire (Paisley).

All other locations are closed until further notice. Sandyford will continue to provide the following care during this time:

Call them on 0141 211 8130 if you need an urgent appointment. 

Highland Sexual Health Services

All routine outpatient appointments including their walk-in Teen Service, have been cancelled in NHS Highland.

  • Call them on 01463 888300 if you have an urgent enquiry.

Unfortunately, the free condoms by post service are currently not running.

Lanarkshire Sexual Health Services

Lanarkshire Sexual Health Services are temporarily changing all LARC (long-acting reversible contraception) and generic walk-in sexual health clinics to booked for priority conditions.

  • Call them on 0300 303 0251 if you have an urgent enquiry.

Grampian Sexual Health Services

Call them on 0345 337 9900 if you have an urgent enquiry.

Dumfries and Galloway Sexual Health Services

Dumfries and Galloway Sexual Health Services are temporarily restricted due to coronavirus.

  • If you need an appointment, call them on 0345 702 3687.
  • If you already have an appointment, please attend this unless you are notified otherwise. 

Fife Sexual Health Services

In light of most recent advice regarding COVID 19 Sexual Health Fife is no longer providing a drop-in service.   

  • Cancellations of booked appointments are also expected. 
  • You may be phoned by members of Sexual Health or BBV Team using an 0800 number.
  • If you require urgent advice (e.g. if you have symptoms of sexually transmitted infections or are running out of contraception or medication) call them on 01592 647979 and you may be offered a telephone consultation.

Ayrshire and Arran Sexual Health Services

  • Call them on 01294 323 226 if you have an urgent enquiry.

Forth Valley Sexual Health Services

All appointments for Sexual Health Clinics in Stirling are now relocated to Falkirk Community Hospital. Clinics will only operate from Falkirk Community Hospital and Clackmannanshire Community Health Care Centre until further notice.

  • Forth Valley Sexual Health Services have limited appointments available due to coronavirus. Please call the triage line on 01324 673554, Mon-Fri, 0830-1230 and a member of staff will advise if an appointment is required.
  • Alternatively, you can call the helpline on 01324 673563, Mon-Fri, 2pm - 4pm.
  • Where possible, please attend clinic appointments on your own to reduce the risk of exposure to NHS staff.

Unfortunately, the free condoms by post service are currently not running.

Western Isles Sexual Health Services

Call them on  01851 708305 if you have an urgent enquiry.

Shetland Sexual Health Services

 

Orkney Sexual Health Services

Drop-in clinics are now suspended due to coronavirus.

  • Call them on 01856 888917 if you have an urgent enquiry.

Borders Sexual Health Services

Borders Sexual Health are now providing a reduced service, and have temporarily suspended their online booking system.

  • Call them on 01896 663700 from 9am-1pm, Monday to Friday - if you have an urgent enquiry.

 

Content updated:27/3/2020