According to experts coronavirus is primarily spread by respiratory droplets passed via direct ingestion—like in conversation or a kiss. The disease can also spread in the air and by accidental ingestion of feces.
There are many other possible ways the disease can spread. According to the CDC, it is not clear yet whether the virus can spread through semen, vomit, urine and breast milk.
A small study was conducted in January and February this year in China. According to this study coronavirus was found in semen of recovering and acute male COVID-19 patients.
However, it remains unkowne, according to the CDC, whether the disease can be transmitted sexually.
A small study conducted in Shangqiu, China, found that six patients—15.8%—of 38 COVID-19-positive males had the virus in their semen. The study was published on JAMA Network Open. According to the study, Four of those men with COVID-19 in their semen were at the acute stage of infection.
The research neither confirms nor denies whether the virus can be sexually transmitted.
Another small study conducted by Chinese and American researchers with 34 men in Wuhan, China, found the subjects’ semen to be coronavirus-free after a median of 31 days, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s Fertility and Sterility journal.
Writing in Annals of Internal Medicine, Jack Turban, M.D., M.H.S., Alex S. Keuroghlian, M.D., M.P.H. and Kenneth Mayer, M.D., advises abstinence. According to them, abstinence is the lowest risk approach to sex during the pandemic, and masturbation is additional safe recommendation for patients.
They note, though, the lack of data about sexual transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in their “ideas and opinions” piece for the journal published by the American College of Physicians in Philadelphia.
Turban, Keuroghlian, and Mayer reference the two studies mentioned above.
Whether evidence of the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in semen means the infection can be transmitted via semen is unknown, but the authors say “it would be prudent to consider semen as potentially infectious.”
Their advice about SARS-Cov-2 in urine is the similar.
The trio of physicians also say that patients can be counseled to engage in sexual activity with partners remotely via the telephone or video chats but should also be warned about the risk of partners taking screenshots of conversation.
They also mention that antibody tests may play an important role in evaluating COVID-19 sexual risks and safe sex practices as it has with HIV. People who test positive for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 may have relative immunity against contracting an infection.
That immunity may, therefore, allow for “serosorting of individuals for sexual activity.” Safe sex, with respect to SARS-CoV-2 transmission, may be possible among those have tested positive for the antibodies, according to Turban, Keuroghlian and Mayer.