Monkeypox: public health advice for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men

An outbreak of a disease called monkeypox is currently taking place in many countries that do not typically have cases. This can be concerning, especially for people whose loved ones or community have been affected. Some cases have been identified through
sexual health clinics in communities of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. It is important to note that the risk of monkeypox is not limited to men who have sex with men. Anyone who has close contact with someone who is infectious
is at risk. However, given that the virus is being identified in these communities, learning about monkeypox will help ensure that as few people as possible are affected and that the outbreak can be stopped.

This public health advice contains information on how monkeypox spreads, what to do if you think you have symptoms and how to protect yourself and others. It can be used by community leaders, influencers, health workers and
people attending social events and parties to inform and engage communities of men who have sex with men.

What you need to know

An outbreak of a disease called monkeypox is happening in some countries where the virus is not typically found. Some of these cases are being found in communities of gay, bisexual and other men who
have sex with men. Transgender people and gender-diverse people may also be more vulnerable in the context of the current outbreak.

Symptoms include:

  • Rash with blisters on face, hands, feet, eyes, mouth and/or genitals
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Low energy

You can catch monkeypox if you have close physical contact with someone who is showing symptoms. This includes touching and being face-to-face.

Monkeypox can spread during close skin-to-skin contact during sex, including kissing, touching, oral and penetrative sex with someone who has symptoms. Avoid having close contact with anyone who has symptoms.

Protect yourself and others by:

  • Isolating at home and talking to a health worker if you have symptoms
  • Avoid skin-to-skin or face-to-face contact, including sexual contact with anyone who has symptoms
  • Clean hands, objects, and surfaces that have been touched regularly
  • Wear a mask if you are in close contact with someone with symptoms

Stigmatising people because of a disease is never ok. Anyone can get or pass on monkeypox, regardless of their sexuality.

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