Monkey Pox: Is it a Gay Disease?

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Medically Reviewed by Dr. Aman Priya Khanna
Written by Hexahealth Care Team, last updated on 12 December 2023| min read
Monkey Pox: Is it a Gay Disease?

Quick Summary

    Is Monkeypox a Gay Disease?

  • No, Monkeypox is not a gay disease. The virus can spread to anyone who has close contact with an infected person, regardless of their sexual orientation. However, most of the confirmed cases of Monkeypox in the recent outbreak have been in gay and bisexual men. This is likely because the virus is spread through close contact, and gay and bisexual men are more likely to engage in activities that involve close contact, such as sex.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that there is no evidence that Monkeypox is spread through sex. However, it is possible that the virus can be spread through contact with bodily fluids, such as semen or vaginal fluid.
  • If you have any concerns about Monkeypox, you should talk to your doctor.

A recent outbreak of Monkeypox is taking place in several countries worldwide, with the largest number in the UK. Most of these cases have been identified in communities of gay, bisexuals, and men who have sex with men. Due to these results, the news of Monkeypox being a gay disease is making rounds globally. But is it really a gay disease? Read on to find out. 

But first, let’s understand what Monkeypox disease is. 

Monkeypox Disease - What is It?

Monkeypox, a rare disease, is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted from animals to humans) with symptoms similar to smallpox in the past. However, Monkeypox is clinically less severe than smallpox. The disease can be transmitted through close contact with an infected person or animal. 

The recent outbreak of Monkeypox is concerning, especially for people whose community or loved ones are affected. The first case of Monkeypox was reported on 7th May in a man who had recently travelled to Nigeria, where the virus is endemic. Soon, two people were infected with the virus who shared the same household. Four cases were reported in gay and bisexual men. The latest WHO update on 2nd June 2022 confirmed 780 laboratory cases across 27 countries where the virus is not endemic. 

Is Monkeypox a Disease in Gay or Bisexual Men?

No, the risk of getting Monkeypox is not limited to men who have sex with men. The Monkeypox virus is not a sexually transmitted infection, and anyone who has close contact with an infected person is at risk. Mostly, the virus is caught through close skin-to-skin contact, which is why it is common in sexual partners. However, because most of the confirmed cases are among the gay community, doctors encourage the group to be particularly careful about the symptoms. 

So Why are Gay Men Catching the Disease More Right Now? 

Because the Monkeypox virus is often caught via close contact, it is more likely to spread through the community in which it was introduced. According to Dr Prochazka, an epidemiologist from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the infection appears to have been introduced in the community of gay, bisexuals, and other men who have sex with men. Therefore, it is spreading within their network, and as a result, the world is witnessing most cases of gay men. Another possibility is the proactive engagement of gay men with sexual health services, leading to more cases being diagnosed. 

Due to an increase in cases of gay and other men who have sex with men, many people have started wondering if Monkeypox can spread through sex. Let’s understand what WHO has to say about the same. 

Can Monkeypox be Transmitted Through Sex?

The Monkeypox disease can spread through close skin-to-skin contact, including touching, kissing, and oral and penetrative sex with an infected person. In some cases, Monkeypox rashes have been found in the mouth and genitals, which are likely a result of transmission during sexual contact. 

Whether the virus can spread via semen or vaginal fluids is currently unknown. Researchers are continuously putting more effort into finding out more about the disease. Until then, avoid having close and sexual contact with anyone who has symptoms of Monkeypox. 

How to Manage Stigma and Stereotypes?

Most cases of Monkeypox disease are reported in the gay community, leading to the unfortunate danger of further stigma being generated towards the group. Gay and bisexual people suffered tremendously over the years with the stigma attached to infectious diseases like HIV and Aids in the 1980s and 1990s. Individuals who contracted the virus isolated themselves instead of seeking medical care. As a result, the cases of these infections were under-reported in the early days of the epidemic. 

The stigma and fear are a concern for the public at large as they could prevent people from realising that they have the Monkeypox virus. According to Jaime Garcia-Iglesias, a sociologist who studied the effect of Aids and Covid-19 on certain communities, there’s a risk that the stigma can stop people from seeking the medical help they need. Doctors and health organisations are keen to ensure that these past experiences of stigma are not repeated with Monkeypox. 

How Can You Manage the Symptoms of Monkeypox Disease?

The disease is at the stage where it can be contained. Since the Monkeypox virus is closely related to the smallpox virus, it is under study that the smallpox vaccine can be used to protect people from getting Monkeypox. These vaccines can effectively protect people when given before exposure to Monkeypox. Controlling the human-to-human spread of Monkeypox through early diagnosis and isolation of people can help curb the disease. 

So if you witness new and unusual rashes or sores, you should contact your sexual health clinic. Those who are more at risk of getting Monkeypox after contact with an infected person should isolate themselves for up to three weeks. Most Monkeypox infections get cleared up on their own without treatment. However, you should still consult the doctor if you have an infection. 

Make sure to take preventive measures to keep yourself safe from the virus. Consult an HexaHealth expert TODAY and get yourself tested if you experience the following symptoms:-

  1. High fever
  2. Muscle ache
  3. Back pain
  4. Headache
  5. Fatigue
  6. Swollen lymph nodes
  7. Skin rash or lesions

With over 1,000 specialists on board, HexaHealth is here to help the nation contain the Monkeypox infection. And remember, anyone can get Monkeypox, regardless of their sexuality. So, fight the disease and not the people at a greater risk of acquiring the disease.

 

Can Monkeypox be Transmitted Through Sex? || image
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Updated on : 12 December 2023

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational and learning purposes only. It doesn't cover every medical condition and might not be relevant to your personal situation. This information isn't medical advice, isn't meant for diagnosing any condition, and shouldn't replace talking to a certified medical or healthcare professional.

Reviewer

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

MBBS, DNB General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, FIAGES

12 Years Experience

Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a well-known General Surgeon, Proctologist and Bariatric Surgeon currently associated with HealthFort Clinic, Health First Multispecialty Clinic in Delhi. He has 12 years of experience in General Surgery and worke...View More

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