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MonkeyPox: An Illness Affecting the LGBTQIA+ Community.

August 3, 2022


Sexual Health

There's a new illness on the rise, and it's affecting the LGBTQIA+ community disproportionately. The disease originated in Africa and has recently spread to Europe and North America. Let's explore what monkeypox is and what we can do to protect ourselves from it.

Monkeypox is a virus that is closely related to smallpox. It was first discovered in 1958 in monkeys and later spread to humans. The disease is found primarily in Africa but has recently spread to Europe and North America. It is currently spreading through prolonged skin-to-skin contact. Read the CDC's updated information, here.

Symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
  • A rash that may be located on or near the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole) but could also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.
  • The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
  • The rash can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.

For more information on symptoms click here.

The World Health Organization declared the recent outbreak a "public health emergency of international concern" on July 23rd. It is spreading rapidly around the globe with over 16,000 cases in 75 countries. There is a vaccination available and the CDC is recommending it for those in higher risk categories. In addition, studies have found vaccination after exposure may help reduce symptoms.

To prevent contracting monkeypox, we recommend having a conversation with your sexual partner in regards to their health. Discuss any recent illnesses or flu-like symptoms. Check for unexplained rashes or bumps, including the genitals and anus. You can read more about prevention on the CDC's website, here.

If you think you may have monkeypox, it is important to seek medical attention right away. The sooner you are diagnosed, the better the chance for treatment and a speedy recovery.

Written By: 

Kollyn Conrad




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