Updated 19 June 2023

UPDATE: **The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) announced on Friday 16 June that vaccines will continue to be given in London, due to a rise in mpox cases. The mpox vaccination programme was originally due to end in July 2023. Call your clinic to book a vaccination.**

Update: Following a series of consultations with global experts, WHO will begin using a new preferred term “mpox” as a synonym for monkeypox. Both names will be used simultaneously for one year while “monkeypox” is phased out.

It has now been several months since the first outbreak of mpox (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 USA where the numbers of people infected may be under reported and in mainland Europe. As of September 2022, several thousand cases have been detected worldwide. 

What is mpox (monkeypox)?

Mpox 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 August 2022, there have been some reported deaths related to the virus recorded in Europe and South America, many of these cases have been linked to underlining conditions. 

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of mpox (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, spots or lesions on their bodies, particularly their genitals, and to contact a sexual health service if they are concerned.

Mpox (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 mpox rash.

Is there a vaccine?

Yes, because mpox (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. Many countries have started to roll out the vaccine - it's best to contact your local sexual health clinic for up-to-date info on vaccine availability. 

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. 


For the latest info on vaccine info in the UK visit our special vaccine page here: https://www.lgbthero.org.uk/monkeypox-vaccine

We're very aware that many of you visiting this page come from the US. Here's some info that we think can help. We're a small UK based charity but will try and update this when we can. 


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/

Columbus, Ohio: www.columbus.gov/Templates/Detail.aspx?id=2147526482

New Jersey: www.prnvnacj.org/

Salt Lake County, Utah: slco.org/health/infectious-disease/monkeypox/

Indiana: damien.org/monkeypox

Social media accounts to follow:

FEATURE: Monkeypox on the mind: sex, anxiety and mental wellbeing

Read our full report here

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