YOUNG PEOPLE across Ireland are being asked to do their bit to stop the spread of Covid-19 by having sex online or over the phone rather than in person.
The HSE and the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) are calling on young people to refrain from intimate contact with individuals outside their household, the Irish Independent reports.
As part of a new information campaign, they are also urging people to consider technology-led alternatives like “phone sex” or “internet sex” to avoid close contact.
Leaflets available in pharmacies across Ireland under the title “Play It Safe!” will offer advice on how to reduce the coronavirus from being spread through sexual activity.
The pamphlet urges young people to "only be sexually active with a partner living in your household".
"If you decide to be sexually active with someone living outside of your household, limit it to as few partners as possible, preferably one regular partner," it adds.
"Consider masturbation or remote sexual activity (eg, online) as alternative to physical sexual activity with others."
Couples are also being advised to avoid any sexual activity like kissing if their partner displays symptoms of Covid-19.
The HSE advice also recommends people wash their hands “thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after sexual activity".
The campaign is designed to not only help reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 but also halt the spread of any sexually transmitted infections.
It is hoped that the information on contraception will lead to a reduction in unplanned pregnancies with the leaflet also including information on emergency contraception, and drugs which stop HIV transmission and other infections.
The campaign comes after a noticeable increase in the number of cases of coronavirus recorded among younger people since restrictions were lifted.
With young people less likely to experience serious Covid-19 symptoms, there has been some concern many are failing to adhere to social distancing rules despite the potential for them to pass the virus on to the more vulnerable in society.
The new leaflets are being made available in pharmacies across the country as part of "sexual health protection packs" and come with a free promotional condom.