COVID-19 Info and Advice

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

Check out the information below to find out more about Covid-19 and how it's affecting our work. If you have any other queries, get in touch with us

You can stay up to date with the latest general Covid-19 advice and guidance from NHS Inform hereYou can stay up to date on coronavirus in Scotland on the Scottish Government’s website here. 

Impact on SX services

Due to ongoing coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) developments, we have taken the decision to suspend most of our in-person support. Our bases in Inverness and Edinburgh offices will remain closed until further notice. Testing services across Scotland have resumed. 

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 many 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 how to contact us.

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

About coronavirus

Typical symptoms of Covid-19 include:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • loss of, or a change in, sense of smell or taste

Variants of Covid-19, such as Delta and Omicron, have additional symptoms to those listed above. For full information about the symptoms of each variant visit the NHS Inform website. You can also use NHS Inform's symptom checker here.

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.

If you've developed any of these symptoms, however mild, the advice is to self-isolate at home for 10 days from the start of your symptoms and arrange to be tested. You should also stay at home if someone you live with has symptoms, or if you’ve been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive. Full details of the Scottish Government's advice on self-isolation can be read here.

You should phone 111 if: 

  • your symptoms worsen during home isolation (especially if you are in a high risk group)
  • breathlessness develops or worsens (especially if you are in a high risk group)
  • your symptoms have not improved after 10 days

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

How to prevent a Coronavirus infection

Get Vaccinated.

The Covid-19 vaccination is available to all adults and children over 12 years old.

The vaccine is your best protection against Covid-19, so it is strongly recommended that you get the vaccine when offered itFull information about the vaccines, and vaccination programme are available here.

Practice good respiratory hygiene.

You can reduce the chance of getting and spreading Coronavirus by practicing good respiratory hygiene. 

  • 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
  • Follow the guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection and arranging to be tested if someone in your household has symptoms
  • Make sure everyone in your household follows the Scottish Government’s coronavirus advice as much as possible
  • Make sure your household follows the physical distancing advice, staying 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others, especially anyone in a vulnerable group

We recommend this good hand guide produced by the NHS.

Download the Protect Scotland app.

The Protect Scotland app from NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect is a free, mobile phone app designed to help us protect each other, reduce the spread of coronavirus and avoid further lockdowns.

The app will alert you if you have been in close contact with another app user who tests positive for coronavirus. And if you test positive, it can help in determining contacts that you may have otherwise missed while keeping your information private and anonymous.

FAQs

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 are not on treatment, you are more at risk of infection in general, which will include COVID-19. 

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.

The British HIV Association (BHIVA) is posting regular updates on Covid-19, based on the most up-to-date science. You can read them here

Read the Terrence Higgins Trust's blog on Covid-19 and HIV 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.

What if I take non-prescription drugs/chems?

If you're taking drugs that aren't prescribed, 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.  This helps give your immune system the best possible chance against coronavirus should you become infected. 
  • 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.

Crew have lots of helpful advice about coronavirus for people who 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?

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

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 available by post for free. Click here to order yours.

Greater Glasgow and Clyde Sexual Health Services (Sandyford Clinics)

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

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

Highland Sexual Health Services

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

Order free condoms through Waverley Care by submitting their online form.

Lanarkshire Sexual Health Services

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.

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

Dumfries and Galloway Sexual Health Services

If you need an appointment, call them on 0345 702 3687

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

Fife Sexual Health Services

If you require urgent advice call them on 01592 647979 and you may be offered a telephone consultation. You may be phoned by members of Sexual Health or BBV Team using an 0800 number.

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

Ayrshire and Arran Sexual Health Services

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

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

Forth Valley Sexual Health Services

To access the Forth Valley Sexual Health Services, please call the triage line on 01324 673554, open Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 12:30pm. 

Alternatively, you can call the helpline on 01324 673563, Mon-Fri, 2pm - 4pm.

Free condoms by post service.

Western Isles Sexual Health Services

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

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

Shetland Sexual Health Services

Orkney Sexual Health Services

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

Borders Sexual Health Services

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

Tayside Sexual Health Services

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

Content updated: 05/01/21