A CORK GP has questioned the rationale behind reported new advice around sexual relationships which has been devised to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
According to reports in a national newspaper this week, a new campaign from the HSE and the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) will advise that people should only be sexually active with a partner living in their own household, and if they do decide to be sexually active with someone living outside of their household, that they limit this, preferably to one regular partner.
The campaign will also reportedly ask people to consider remote sexual activity (such as online activity) as an alternative to physical sexual activity with others.
It is reported that leaflets with messaging around sex and Covid-19 as well as contraception and HIV transmission and infection will be made available to young people through pharmacies.
Responding to the report, Dr Nick Flynn said that he felt the message being conveyed is confusing.
“We’re now in a situation where we are saying you can meet one on one. What difference does it make if they meet and have dinner and sit opposite each other for three hours and hold hands and kiss or if they go home and have sex. It makes no difference. The risk is the same,” he said.
Furthermore, Dr Flynn said it was his understanding that up to 10 people from four different households could meet in a house at any one time.
He said it “makes no sense” that they could have 10 friends over but could not hook up with someone.
“It’s a confusing public health message and it is not how you get young people on board in my opinion,” Dr Flynn added.
The Cork GP also questioned the reported advice that people will be asked to consider remote sex as an alternative to physical sexual activity with others.
Dr Flynn said there were concerns around sexting and that there was a “possibility of having ouvert sexual behaviour over the phone with another person puts young people at risk from abuse.”