Safe sex for monkeypox: CDC suggests fewer partners


Sexually active Americans should consider limiting partners and avoiding sexual parties to reduce the risk of monkeypox until they have been vaccinated, according to updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Friday.

The reviews come a day after the Biden administration declared the growing outbreak of monkeypox a public health emergency, as experts, gay rights advocates and health authorities debate how to convey messages about sexual transmission of the virus.

Monkeypox is not considered a traditional sexually transmitted disease because it is spread primarily through close contact with pests. But global data suggests that skin-to-skin contact during sex is fueling the outbreak, which has led to more than 7,000 infections in the United States and 26,000 worldwide. Cases reviewed in detail show that infection is highly prevalent among gay men.

Last week, the World Health Organization leader said that MSM should temporarily consider reducing the number of their sexual partners or stop adding new partners to help stem the outbreak, sparking debate over whether calls for sexual restriction lead to counterproductive. Stigma.

As monkeypox infects gay men, officials discuss warnings to limit partners

New sexual health guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mirror comments from WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, albeit not explicitly. It does not target men who have sex with men. CDC guidelines state that the risk of exposure can be reduced by limiting sexual partners, avoiding spaces such as sex clubs where anonymous sexual contact with multiple partners occurs, and wearing clothing, including leather or latex, during sex as a barrier From skin to skin.

The guidelines emphasize that behavioral changes can be temporary until a person is fully vaccinated with two doses of monkeypox. Although the United States is distributing hundreds of thousands of doses of the vaccine in the coming weeks, there is not enough to vaccinate every eligible person, and some jurisdictions are providing only one of two doses to extend limited supplies.

“These temporary changes will help slow the spread of monkeypox until the vaccine supply is sufficient,” CDC guidelines say.

Prior to the update, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advised only people with confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox to abstain from sexual activity.

Public health authorities generally emphasize ways to reduce the risk of disease during sex rather than urging people to avoid sex. Some public health officials and experts say people will make their own decisions about abstaining from high-risk sexual activity when given information about viruses and how they spread.

Ask the post: What are your questions about monkeypox?

Monkeypox presented messaging challenges to public health officials because it can be transmitted outside of sexual activity, such as by hugging or sharing contaminated bedding, and because condoms do not provide complete protection against exposure to the rash.

Some public health experts say recommending a temporary reduction in sexual activity falls short of calling for abstinence, which is widely considered ineffective by disease prevention professionals.

“This is not a thing forever. It is something right now as we work to scale up biomedical interventions,” Dimitri Daskalakis, a senior Biden administration official who leads the response to monkeypox and has experience in HIV prevention, said on a call with reporters Friday. .

The CDC did not widely promote its new guidelines after it was released online on Friday. His tweet and accompanying video linking the changes did not mention the new recommendations to reduce exposure, including limiting sexual partners. Daskalakis said officials will turn to credible organizations in the hardest-hit communities to help reinforce prevention messages.

Although the CDC guidelines do not indicate sexual orientation or gender identity, data released by the agency on Friday show that infections remain largely among men who have sex with men.

In 358 male cases with detailed information, 94 percent reported intimate or sexual contact with another man within the three weeks prior to the onset of symptoms.

Nearly 300 men provided additional details about their sexual activity in that three-week period: 40 percent reported two to four partners, 27 percent reported having one partner, 19 percent reported 10 or more partners, and 14 percent reported having one partner. Per cent reported five to nine partners.

Monkeypox causes flu-like symptoms, including fever, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash that can spread throughout the body. Doctors are noticing more lesions around the genitals, mouth and anus of patients in the latest outbreak of suspicions related to sexual transmission.

In 291 cases with detailed symptom data, 42 percent of patients did not report flu-like symptoms before the rash appeared, as is usually the case in monkeypox patients. In a sample with detailed information about the sites of the rash, just under half reported having it around the genitals.

Monkeypox exposes the inequalities of the gay community as people struggle to get care

CDC data also showed that people of color carry the burden of monkeypox cases at levels disproportionate to their presence in the general population.

In the more than 1,000 reported cases of race and ethnicity, 41 percent were white, 28 percent were Hispanic, and 26 percent were black.

Cases disproportionately affect blacks as the outbreak grows, from 12 percent of cases between May 17 and July 2 to nearly a third of cases between July 3 and July 22.

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