During the COVID-19 outbreak you should look to official sources for health information. UglyMugs.ie is not able to to give health advice as we are not qualified to do so. However we highlight some health-related information and links here. This includes signposting to official health advice, health advice for migrants, sexual health and abortion information and links to sex worker friendly organisations.
Official Health Advice
Official sources of health advice for those in Ireland include the HSC Public Health Agency (Northern Ireland), the National Health Service (NHS) (UK), Health Service Executive (HSE) (Republic of Ireland) and World Health Organisation (WHO) (global). You should check often for the latest health information as it is constantly being updated.
On 13 March 2020 the National Health Service (NHS) issued the following advice for migrant communities regarding COVID-19:
There can be no charge made to an overseas visitor for the diagnosis or treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19).
All overseas visitors, including anyone living in the UK without permission, should be aware that:
- No charges apply to testing for COVID-19, even if the result is negative, or to any treatment provided for COVID-19 if the result is positive or up to the point that it is negatively diagnosed. The same is true of most other infectious diseases.
- NHS trusts have been advised that no immigration checks are required for overseas visitors that are known to be only undergoing testing or treatment for COVID-19.
Doctors of the World have also provided translated resources informed by government and NHS advice
The above NHS advice applies to Northern Ireland. For more information and support regarding migrant healthcare in Northern Ireland you can visit the Migrant Centre NI website and/or contact Migrant Centre NI. We can confirm that Migrant Centre NI are a sex worker friendly organisation.
Republic of Ireland
On 20 March 2020 the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) announced that during the COVID-19 outbreak it is safe for all migrants to access essential services stating "The Irish Government have confirmed with MRCI that All people - documented and undocumented can access healthcare and social welfare services without fear. Services will not share your information with the Department of Justice and Equality". For more information and support you can visit the MRCI website and/or contact MRCI. We can confirm that MRCI are a sex worker friendly organisation.
Your sexual health is very important during the COVID-19 outbreak. However, you may find that your local sexual health services are not running as usual at this time.
The official government sexual health website for Northern Ireland is: Sexual Health NI
We also recommend the Rainbow Project for comprehensive information and useful contacts regarding sexual health in Northern Ireland during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Rainbow Project is a sex worker friendly organisation.
Republic of Ireland
The official government sexual health website for the Republic of Ireland is: Sexual Wellbeing
We also recommend HIV Ireland website for comprehensive information and useful contacts regarding sexual health in the Republic of Ireland during the COVID-19 outbreak. HIV Ireland is a sex worker friendly organisation.
Finally, wherever you are in Ireland we highly recommend checking out the SafeRsexwork guide by the Sexual Health Centre in Cork, especially if you are continuing to do in-person sex work at this time.
The Abortion Support Network (ASN) helps people access safe abortions. They are a sex worker friendly organisation and support people in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. We recommend visiting the Abortion Support Network website if you need information or help accessing abortion during the COVID-19 outbreak.
On 9 April 2020 the Sexual Health Centre in Cork launched a the #SafeRsexwork campaign, to highlight the need for escorts and sex workers to avail of the supports available to them during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Dr. Martin Davoren, the Executive Director of the Sexual Health Centre said "While it is most advisable for sex workers and escorts to take time off work if at all possible, some individuals will not have that option, and those individuals deserve to have the information and support required, to help them to stay safe at this time".
The #SafeRsexwork campaign is a practical, step-by-step harm reduction guide for individuals undertaking sex work and escort work, during the COVID-19 outbreak. It provides information on COVID-19 and details of supports available to you from the Sexual Health Centre including free condoms by post and online community outreach. Support information in the guide includes topics such as:
- What counts as 'close contact' / contact to be avoided?
- Risk Assessment
- Screening Clients
- Preparing your work space
- When you meet your client
- Precautions during sex
- Additional precautions for your own workspace
- Additional precautions for other locations (street, outcall etc.)
- Precautions to take after each client
The full Sexual Health Centre SafeRsexwork guide is available on their website.
We think the Sexual Health Centre have done a great job here and recommend you check out their resources and services.