Mpox Center
Mpox Center

You may have heard about mpox. After making it through more than three years of COVID, plus last year’s mpox wave, it makes sense to feel uneasy. Especially, when we are seeing it spread among the LGBTQ+ community. But we’re smarter now. We’ve learned about how diseases spread, and we’re prepared to do what it takes to stay safe. We’re learning all we can, and we’re gonna keep you updated about what we’ve learned. Here’s what we know so far:

What is it?
  • Mpox is an infection caused by a virus in the same family as smallpox and spreads through both direct and indirect contact with the  rash or bodily fluids of someone with mpox.
  • The sores may look like blisters or pimples and may come with fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, or exhaustion.
  • While mpox is not an STI, prolonged skin-to-skin and face-to-face contact can spread the virus
Spread in Texas
  • As of June 2023, we are seeing new cases in Dallas
  • Though the number of confirmed Texas cases remains small, we are seeing community spread among LGBTQ+ people in Texas.
  • Anybody can get mpox, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Viruses spread amongst close-knit communities. If a hedge fund manager got mpox, Wall Street would have an outbreak too. 
  • Limiting your number of sexual partners can reduce your risk of exposure.
  • Safer sex practices alone do not prevent the spread.
  • Don’t forget that it’s ok—and actually recommended—to have open discussions with potential partners about their recent sexual activities or mpox exposure. It’s likely that your partner may have anxieties about mpox too, and these conversations can help put both of you at ease.
  • We can all help prevent the spread of mpox by washing our hands frequently and avoiding skin to skin contact with others if  symptoms are present. 
  • Have a doctor look at any rashes or sores. Be sure to call ahead and inform the clinic that it could be a case of mpox. 
  • Don’t handle clothes, bedding, and other objects that have touched the rash or bodily fluids of someone with mpox. 

For a complete guide on how to prepare for mpox spread this summer, click here.

If you have mpox
  • If you have confirmed mpox, you need to remain home in isolation until all the lesions have scabbed over and are replaced with healthy, new skin.
  • The scabs fall off on their own, and you can see new, healthy skin visible underneath. 
  • To avoid spreading the rash to other parts of the body, do not pick at or touch the scabs or sores. Avoid touching the face and eyes. 
  • For more advice on how to prevent further spread, check out the CDC’s guide.
  • While smallpox vaccination protects against mpox, routine smallpox vaccination for the American public was discontinued in 1972 after the disease was eradicated in the United States.
  • There are also two approved vaccines that prevent mpox. They are available in limited quantities for people who have been exposed to the virus, and this week the FDA in partnership with the CDC helped to accelerate the production of 800k more doses that will be available in the coming weeks.
  • Local vaccine availability may vary.
Impact on Immunocompromised People

During August–October 2022, CDC provided clinical consultation for 57 hospitalized patients with severe manifestations of mpox, most of whom were Black men with AIDS. Delays were observed in initiation of mpox-directed therapies. Twelve patients died, and mpox was a cause of death or contributing factor in five patients to date, with several other deaths still under investigation.

Clinicians should consider early treatment with available therapeutics for those at risk for severe mpox disease, particularly patients with AIDS. Engaging all persons with HIV in care remains a critical public health priority.

Read the report from the CDC here.