MPXV Center
MPXV Center

Recently, many of us have been hearing about Monkeypox (MPXV). After making it through two and a half years of COVID, 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?
  • Monkeypox 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 Monkeypox.
  • The sores may look like blisters or pimples and may come with fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, or exhaustion.
  • While MPXV is not an STI, prolonged skin-to-skin and face-to-face contact can spread the virus
Spread in Texas
  • Though the number of confirmed Texas cases remains small, we are seeing community spread among LGBTQ+ people in Texas.
  • Anybody can get Monkeypox, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Viruses spread amongst close-knit communities. If a hedge fund manager got MPXV, 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 MPXV exposure. It’s likely that your partner may have anxieties about MPXV too, and these conversations can help put both of you at ease.
  • We can all help prevent the spread of Monkeypox 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 Monkeypox. 
  • Don’t handle clothes, bedding, and other objects that have touched the rash or bodily fluids of someone with MPXV. 
If you have MPXV
  • If you have confirmed MPXV, 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 Monkeypox, 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 MPXV. 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 monkeypox, most of whom were Black men with AIDS. Delays were observed in initiation of monkeypox-directed therapies. Twelve patients died, and monkeypox 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 monkeypox 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.