In May 2022, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) identified a handful of monkeypox cases, saying "...the most recent cases are in gay, bisexual and other MSM communities, and as the virus spreads through close contact, we are advising these groups to be alert to any unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body, especially their genitalia, and to contact a sexual health service if they have concerns."
While it's essential to know if the outbreak disproportionately affects gay, bisexual men and other MSM communities, a handful of cases is an outbreak, not an epidemic. However, it's worth noting the outbreak in Spain, where health authorities said, "Generally speaking, monkeypox is spread by respiratory transmission, but the characteristics of the 23 suspected cases point towards transmission through mucus during sexual relations." It would be concerning if the 23 cases were gay men, but we must not jump to conclusions.
Already, professionals and pundits are over it like a rash (no pun intended) with opinions, forebodings, perspectives, and predictions. We should be mindful that the outbreak is relatively new, and the narrative is unfolding. Should the situation develop or worsen, it's good to know that the UKHSA is monitoring gay, bisexual and other MSM communities.
The above text was posted in early May 2022. See below for updates.
There is no evidence it is a sexually transmitted infection like HIV or chlamydia. Rather, in the UK outbreak, close contact during sex or intimate activity may have been a key factor in transmission.
London’s Public Health Director Kevin Fenton explains why everyone, but particularly gay and bisexual men, to be on the lookout for any unusual rashes or blister-like lesions after the recent discovery of several cases in England.
Monkeypox | UKHSA | 19 May 2022 | 36s
NHS helpline and listings for sexual health services (Greater London)
111 | NHS Helpline
Sexual health services for Greater listed by London borough | MEN R US
Sexual health services for United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland | MEN R US
Monkeypox: Q&A and Update | i-base | 26 May 2022
This Q&A is about the recent cases of the monkeypox virus (MPV) in the UK. It will be updated as new information becomes available.
Monkeypox Resources | British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH)
Monkeypox cases confirmed in England – latest updates | UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)
Monkeypox | GOV.UK
Monkeypox | NHS
Monkeypox | World Health Organisation (WHO)
Majority of UK’s 366 monkeypox cases are in London, says health agency | The Guardian | 10 Jun 2022
Law makes monkeypox a notifiable disease in England | BBC News | 8 Jun 2022
The Guardian view on monkeypox: communication is crucial | The Guardian | 5 Jun 2022
Fifth case of monkeypox discovered in New York City | The Guardian | 3 Jun 2022
Monkeypox infections rise as guidance advises cases to abstain from sex | BBC | 30 May 2022
Monkeypox: what is it and how worried should we be? – video explainer | The Guardian | 27 May 2022
Monkeypox: UK cases rise to 71, with vaccines for high-risk contacts | BBC News | 25 May 2022
Monkeypox is spreading among gay men worldwide | nam aidsmap | 25 May 2022
UN denounces ‘homophobic and racist’ reporting on monkeypox spread | The Guardian | 23 May 2022
Monkeypox outbreak is primarily spreading through sex, WHO officials say | CNBC | 23 May 2022
Monkeypox Q&A: how do you catch it and what are the risks? An expert explains | The Conversation | 23 May 2022
UNAIDS warns that stigmatizing language on Monkeypox jeopardises public health | UNAIDS | 22 May 2022
Monkeypox: Doctors concerned over impact on sexual health | BBC News | 21 May 2022
Monkeypox could significantly disrupt UK sexual health services, expert says | BBC News | 21 May 2021
Monkeypox: Time to worry or one to ignore? | BBC News | 21 May 2022
‘Now we have to deal with it’: what’s going on in the UK with monkeypox? | The Guardian | 20 May 2022
US reports rare case of monkeypox amid small outbreaks in Europe | The Guardian | 19 May 2022
Even more monkeypox cases identified as queer men urged to watch out for rashes and lesions | Pink News | 19 May 2022
Monkeypox alert in Spain after 23 people show symptoms | The Guardian | 18 May 2022
European outbreak of monkeypox: what you need to know | The Conversation | 18 May 2022
What is monkeypox and should UK residents be worried? | The Guardian | 17 May 2022
Monkeypox: Four more cases detected in England | BBC News | 17 May 2022
Four queer men diagnosed with monkeypox in ‘rare and unusual’ UK outbreak | Pink News | 17 May 2022
US monitoring over 200 people for potential monkeypox exposure | The Guardian | 26 Jul 2021
US reports rare case of monkeypox amid small outbreaks in Europe | The Guardian | 19 May 2019
Monkeypox case in England | 8 Sep 2018 | GOV.UK