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Study Shows that COVID-19 is Unlikely to be Transmitted Through Semen

While not originally found in semen, coronavirus has been found in semen, but it is unlikely that the disease can be spread in this way.

May 21, 2020
Laura Beck

There are a few studies that show that while COVID-19 has been found in semen, it is unlikely that it is spread through it, although COVID-19 is still easily spread through saliva and close contact with someone who has been infected. This article will make sense of those studies and cover the following:

  • Is coronavirus found in semen?
  • Can coronavirus be sexually transmitted?
Upclose image of sperm
At first, COVID-19 was not found in semen, but further evidence shows it is found in semen of infected men. Photo courtesy of  Forbes.


Is coronavirus found in semen?

With contradicting evidence, it can be said with confidence that coronavirus has been found, but is likely not transmittable through semen

The virus has been found in semen, while one study originally stated otherwise. In that international study conducted by the University of Utah, men were tested, and no evidence of the virus was found in the semen or testes of the participants. Differing from that was another study that showed that the virus was found in the semen, a study that was conducted in January and February in China. The findings of that study were unclear whether or not the virus can be sexually transmitted.

The study was originally published on JAMA Network Open and found that out of 38 COVID-19 positive males, six had the virus in their semen, or 15.8% of patients. Four of the men were at the acute stage of the infection, while two had already recovered. 

Man in his car with a mask on getting his temperature taken on his forehead
While unlikely, it is unclear whether or not COVID-19 can be sexually transmitted.

Can coronavirus be sexually transmitted?

It is unlikely according to one study, while others state it is unclear

The research from JAMA Network Open did not follow up with the participants of the study, and therefore can neither confirm nor deny whether or not the virus can be sexually transmitted. Additionally, there was not a clear delineation of when their illness subsided, and whether or not they had spread it to their sexual partner.

While the study that did not find the virus in the semen could state with certainty that it could not be sexually transmitted, that is before it was found in the semen and is more uncertain than before. At the same time, coronavirus is not an STD and is therefore likely not to be transmitted by having sex. On the other hand, it is transmitted through other bodily fluids such as saliva, and the social distancing precautions should still be practiced for safe results. 
Another study in the American Society for Reproductive Medicine's Fertility and Sterility Journal showed that there was no evidence of the virus in the semen of recovering males after 31 days.  

While inconclusive, the discovery of COVID-19 in semen proves that it can infiltrate all aspects of the body. In turn, it is best to practice safe sex and remain in social distancing relationships when dating. 

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