Now that the recent monkeypox virus (or MPV) outbreak has traveled to the U.S., many are concerned — especially gay and bi men, who’ve been the most affected by the virus so far. While the outbreak is still relatively small, a larger pandemic is a threat if people don’t take steps to protect themselves and slow its spread.
In response to the fact that most MPV clusters seem to stem from gay gathering spots, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued some official tips and techniques on how to decrease your chances of contracting MPV through sexual encounters. While many have taken to gay Twitter to roast some of the tips for not being very realistic, it wouldn’t hurt those planning to hook up (especially at gay clubs or gathering spots) to check them out:
How can a person lower their risk during sex?
Talk to your partner about any recent illness and be aware of new or unexplained rash on your body or your partner’s body, including the genitals and anus. If you or your partner have recently been sick, currently feel sick, or have a new or an unexplained rash, do not have sex and see a healthcare provider.
If you or a partner has monkeypox, the best way to protect yourself and others is to avoid sex of any kind (oral, anal, vaginal) and do not kiss or touch each other’s bodies while you are sick, especially any rash. Do not share things like towels, fetish gear, sex toys, and toothbrushes.
If you or your partner have (or think you might have) monkeypox and you decide to have sex, consider the following to reduce the chance of spreading the virus:
- Have virtual sex with no in-person contact.
- Masturbate together at a distance of at least 6 feet, without touching each other and without touching any rash.
- Consider having sex with your clothes on or covering areas where rash is present, reducing as much skin-to-skin contact as possible. If the rash is confined to the genitals or anus, condoms may help; however, condoms alone are likely not enough to prevent monkeypox.
- Avoid kissing.
- Remember to wash your hands, fetish gear, sex toys and any fabrics (bedding, towels, clothing) after having sex. Learn more about infection control.
- Having multiple or anonymous sex partners may increase your chances of exposure to monkeypox. Limiting your number of sex partners may reduce the possibility of exposure.
- Avoid touching the rash. Touching the rash can spread it to other parts of the body and may delay healing.
Visit CDC.gov.poxvirus.monkeypox for more information on signs and symptoms, vaccines, and how to keep yourself and others safe.