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GMFA Issues Advice on Monkeypox Risks

22/05/2022

GMFA, the Gay and Bisexual men's health charity, part of the LGBT Hero organisation, has issued more latest information on monkeypox and some reassuring words on the risks this infection poses to the community and wider society.  

Monkeypox and what you need to know

An outbreak of Monkeypox, a serious infectious disease has been detected in the UK, with many initial cases coming from gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men. Here's what you need to know.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox cases are usually found in West Africa, and the virus does not often spread elsewhere.

That is why outbreaks reported in Britain, Portugal, Spain and the United States have cased alarm among public health experts.

The disease, which was first discovered in monkeys. It can cause severe illness in some cases.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, 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.

The monkeypox virus usually causes mild illness but the outbreak is causing concern in government due to the spread in some European countries.

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

The UK Health Security Agency is 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.

It can also be spread through touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the monkeypox rash, and through the coughs and sneezes of somebody with the infection.

Dr Susan Hopkins, UKHSA’s chief medical adviser, said: "We are particularly urging men who are gay and bisexual to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay if they have concerns."

What has happened in the UK?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that, based on currently available information, some people are catching the infection in the UK.

Some of the cases have been confirmed in gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men who have attended sexual health services. Two of these cases have known contacts in common.

The virus spreads through close contact and the UKHSA is advising people, particularly those who are gay, bisexual or who have sex with men, to be alert to any unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body.

The UKHSA said the virus does not usually spread easily between people and the risk to the UK population overall remains low.

London’s public health director, Professor Kevin Fenton, has said plans are in place to stock up on treatments in case infections rise in the capital.

These include vaccines and antiviral medicines, with household contacts of those infected possibly offered jabs.

The UKHSA is carrying out contact tracing of people who have been in close contact with the affected.

What next?

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

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-u...

 

Monkeypox
health
Viruses
Sexual Health
NHS
NHS England
Gay Men's Health Charity
Gay Men's Health

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