A reader asks whether he should stop hooking up with guys from dating apps, during the coronavirus outbreak.
I’m really concerned about the spread of coronavirus and wondering whether hooking up with random guys off grindr is safe.
What do you suggest?
This article has been updated read the new response here.
You ask a good question and one that could be applied to any number of viruses or infections that we face every time we make the decision to hook up with someone random off an app.
Every time we decide to hook up with someone we haven’t received an entire up-to-date health scan from (read: basically every time) you are at some risk, but overall we make the call that the risk is worth the play.
So should Coronavirus be any different?
An agent for change?
I think coronavirus could be a good engine for change or adaptation for our community. It might invite us to start talking more openly about our sexual health, testing and well-being in general and there’s no harm in having a conversation with someone about their health before you hook up.
The more we talk about these things, hopefully, the less stigma there is attached to our health.
Is coronavirus overhyped?
Despite the massive media attention given to coronavirus, it’s worth acknowledging that every year the human race battles flu, colds and other infections. The LA Times notes that this flu season alone 32 million Americans were infected with influenza, which resulted in 18,000 deaths.
But with that said, it would be prudent to take some precautions.
You could ask the person you’re planning to meet with whether they’re likely to have come into contact with the virus – i.e. have they travelled from one of the places hardest hit with the virus – like China, Iran, Italy or South Korea.
However, given that the incubation period for this virus is assumed to be around two weeks, even someone who isn’t showing any symptoms may actually be carrying the virus.
Be wary of your own heath – do you have underlying health conditions that could lead to complications should you become infected with the coronavirus.
Keep the NHS website in your bookmarks for updates from the medical professionals and make your decisions based on their advice.
Matthew, in the end, it’s up to you. I wouldn’t stop having fun at this stage, but I’d urge you and others to self isolate if you think you’ve started to get symptoms and not just with Corona – don’t hook up with guys if you’ve got a cold, flu or if you’re in treatment for an STI.
Let’s not spread infections around.
We’re a community that needs to protect each other.
While I’m at it, why not go for a sexual health check-up – ask about PrEP, the HPV and Hepatitis vaccines.
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The resident Agony Uncle for THEGAYUK.com with over seven years of counselling experience with the LGBT+ community.