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Updated 06 August 2022


Jump to: Vaccines


It has now been several months since the first outbreak of Monkeypox took place in mainland Europe. Since then it has spread all over the world but we are seeing higher rates in the UK, where London is a hot spot, in the US where the numbers of people infected may be under reported and in mainland Europe. As of August 2022, several thousand cases have been detected worldwide. 

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox cases were usually found in West Africa, but this version of the virus is now spreading worldwide. At the moment the variant that's spreading is considered 'mild' but can have severe affects for some people. As of early August 2022, there have been some reported deaths related to the virus recorded in Europe and South America. 

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of monkeypox include:

  • fever
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • backache
  • swollen lymph nodes in your throat or groin
  • chills and exhaustion.
  • A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, which then spreads to other parts of the body including the genitals. The rash can look like chickenpox or syphilis, and scabs can form which then fall off over the space of a few weeks.

Newer symptoms being reported include:

  • Lesions on or in the anus 
  • Lesions on the genitals
  • Lesions inside the throat

The monkeypox virus usually causes mild illness for most people infected. 

In recent cases, most patients have self-identified as gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men (MSM).

All major health agencies are advising gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men to check for any usual rashes or lesions on their bodies, particularly their genitals, and to contact a sexual health service if they are concerned.

Monkeypox can be passed on by direct contact though sex, but is not considered to be a sexually transmitted infection (STI). So it's mainly from body to body contact. It can also be spread through touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the monkeypox rash.

Is there a vaccine?

Yes, because monkeypox is part of the pox family, the smallpox vaccine is effective in stopping transmission or limiting the impact of the virus. At the moment all major health protection agencies are recommending gay, bi and men who have sex with men, who are at high risk, should get the vaccine in order to stop the spread. At the moment the world currently doesn't have enough doses in storage so many countries are limiting who can get vaccinated. Though over the next few months we should see an increase in opportunities to get vaccinated.

What should I do? 

If you think you are at high risk, such as partaking in group sex, dark rooms, sex clubs, saunas etc, you should contact your local sexual health clinic and let them know you're interested. Please be honest with them and let them know you are at high risk.

Please try not to worry. We understand your anxiety might be high right now. If you contract the virus it may be very uncomfortable for a few weeks, but you'll get through it. Reach out to your health services and listen to what they tell you. 


VACCINE INFO:

We aim to update this info as we get it. We are a UK based charity but we understand we are receiving lots of people from the North America looking for information on vaccines. We'll try our best to point you in the right direction.

UK/London: 

Guys and St Thomas: www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk/monkeypox-update#walk-in-clinics

Mortimer Market Centre: www.sexualhealth.cnwl.nhs.uk/monkeypox-vaccination

Liverpool / Merseyside: 

We will add more information for other cities as we get it. 

Gay men are really good at sharing info online and Twitter can be a great resource to find out where vaccinations are taking place in a short period of time. Some accounts we suggest you follow are:

We will add more as we see them. Please also follow @GMFA_UK / @lgbthero where we will RT and share information as we see it. 


USA 

New York: www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/monkeypox.page

Los Angeles: www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/monkeypox/

Chicago: www.blockclubchicago.org/2022/07/29/heres-where-you-can-get-vaccinated-against-monkeypox-in-chicago/

We're currently trying to source social media accounts sharing vaccination info in the US. If you know anyone we should highlight tweet us @lgbthero on Twitter or tag us on @lgbthero.org.uk on Instagram. 


Canada

We don't have any info right now but check back soon


What next?

UK: To keep up-to-date with all the latest information from the government, visit www.gov.uk/government/news/monkeypox-cases-confirmed-in-england-latest-updates?fbclid=IwAR3eKGpXpEbfSPsnzvfgUe-Kah9OfdFgQVUGq8dbN1A70Um4gWMGEXFv2xo

USA: To keep up-to-date with all the latest information from the US government / CDC, visit www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html

Anyone who is worried is advised to contact sexual health services and to call ahead for an appointment, or to call 111.

To find your local sexual health clinic visit, www.nhs.uk/service-search/sexual-health

For more info about Monkeypox, visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/monkeypox