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.
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.
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.
If you noticed a loss of smell or taste, this can also be a sign of coronavirus.
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 apps, with lots more information available on this site, and through our new dedicated live chat service.
You can reduce your risk of catching and spreading respiratory infections like coronavirus by practising good respiratory hygiene. That means:
We recommend this good hand guide produced by the NHS...
If you've developed a new continuous cough, experienced a loss of smell and taste, 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:
You should also phone 111 if you develop breathlessness or it worsens, especially if you:
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.
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.
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.
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 10 days.
NHS Scotland is working hard to roll out the Covid-19 vaccine, this is a huge operation and will take a period of time to vaccinate priority groups before moving onto the general public.
I’m HIV+ what does this mean for vaccinations?
Our friends at I-Base and UNAIDS have written a helpful article that explains many elements of the vaccine including what it means for people living with HIV.
For more information on coronavirus visit the website here.
For more information on what a national lockdown means for you please visit Coronavirus (COVID-19): stay at home guidance.
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.
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, this with 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.
If you’re taking drugs that aren’t prescribed, including chems for sex, there are a few things you need to be aware of:
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.
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.
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 are providing a severely restricted service during the COVID19 outbreak.
Condoms are still available by post for free. Click here to order yours.
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.
All routine outpatient appointments including their walk-in Teen Service, have been cancelled in NHS Highland.
Unfortunately, the free condoms by post service are currently not running.
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 0345 337 9900 if you have an urgent enquiry.
Dumfries and Galloway Sexual Health Services are temporarily restricted due to coronavirus.
In light of most recent advice regarding COVID 19 Sexual Health Fife is no longer providing a drop-in service.
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.
Call them on 01851 708305 if you have an urgent enquiry.
Drop-in clinics are now suspended due to coronavirus.
Borders Sexual Health are now providing a reduced service, and have temporarily suspended their online booking system.