Couples should be wearing a mask or face covering during sex to prevent the spread of coronavirus, a new Harvard University study suggests.

“More than 200 000 people have died of severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 infection, leading to widespread concern regarding physical morbidity and mortality,” researchers wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine. “The sexual health implications, however, have received little focus. On the basis of existing data, it appears all forms of in-person sexual contact carry risk for viral transmission.”

Those who plan on engaging in sexual activity with a partner who they have not been self-quarantined with should wear a mask, avoid kissing, shower before and after, and thoroughly clean the physical space they are in with soap or alcohol wipes, authors of the study suggested.

Because the COVID-19 virus is readily transmitted by aerosols and fomites, all types of in-person sexual activity present a chance for injection, the study warned.

The study also said that those who engage in activity with someone they have been quarantined with is safer, but there is still a risk, especially if one has gone out in public and been exposed to the virus.

Researchers say the safest approach to sexual activity during the pandemic is practicing abstinence, even though it may not be “feasible.”

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