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Best to skip kissing, advisable to wear a mask while having sex, says Canada's top doctor

A trusting relationship should first be established and partners should also consider using a mask that covers the nose and mouth, advises the doctor

September 04, 2020 / 10:34 PM IST

It's best to skip kissing and advisable to wear a mask during sexual activities at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is raging across the world, Canada's lead medical doctor said while issuing a public statement on staying safe from the virus while having sex.

"Sexual health is an important part of our overall health. However, sex can be complicated in the time of Covid-19..." Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer said in the statement, adding that the "lowest risk sexual activity" involves "yourself alone".

However, she has advice for those who want to "engage in an in-person sexual encounter", starting with establishment of a trusting relationship and using a mask that covers nose and mouth.

"Current evidence indicates there is a very low likelihood of contracting the novel coronavirus through semen or vaginal fluids. However, even if the people involved do not have symptoms, sexual activity with new partners does increase your risk of getting or passing Covid-19 through close contact, like kissing," Tam's statement said, according to a report by CNN.

The statement also added that sexual contact should be avoided if either person is displaying COVID-19 symptoms. The statement also suggests "limiting" alcohol use to "make safe decisions".

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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"By taking these precautions and staying conscious of the risks we assume, Canadians can find ways to enjoy physical intimacy while safeguarding the progress we have all made containing Covid-19," the statement added.

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first published: Sep 4, 2020 02:42 pm