Monkeypox Information (Last Updated: 09/12/22)

As of August 2022 the state of California has declared a state of emergency in response to the recent monkeypox outbreak in the United States.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.

Monkeypox was discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research. Despite being named “monkeypox,” the source of the disease remains unknown. However, African rodents and non-human primates (like monkeys) might harbor the virus and infect people.

The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970. Prior to the 2022 outbreak, monkeypox had been reported in people in several central and western African countries. Previously, almost all monkeypox cases in people outside of Africa were linked to international travel to countries where the disease commonly occurs or through imported animals. These cases occurred on multiple continents.

Source: CDC

Why is this a concern for the LGBTQ community?

While anyone can get monkeypox, reported cases have found that 99% of patients with the virus are men and 95% are men who have sex with men (WHO). It is important to not only combat myths about monkeypox and our community, but to also provide the resources for those at high risk.

Monkeypox Frequently Asked Questions

See more frequently asked questions about monkeypox HERE

Monkeypox can spread from person to person through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids. It also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex.

Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. Anyone in close personal contact with a person with monkeypox can get it and should take steps to protect themselves.

Learn more about how monkeypox spreads.

People with monkeypox get a rash that may be located on or near the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole) and could be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.

  • The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
  • The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.

Other symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Exhaustion
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Headache
  • Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)

You may experience all or only a few symptoms

  • Sometimes, people have flu-like symptoms before the rash.
  • Some people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms.
  • Others only experience a rash.

LEARN MORE

  • See a healthcare provider if you notice a new or unexplained rash or other monkeypox symptoms.
  • Remind the healthcare provider that monkeypox is present in the United States.
  • Avoid close contact (including intimate physical contact) with others until you see a healthcare provider.
  • Avoid close contact with pets or other animals until you see a healthcare provider.
  • If you’re waiting for test results, follow the same precautions.
  • If your test result is positive, stay isolated and observe other prevention practices until your rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed.
  • Remain isolated if you have a fever, sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough. Only go out to see a healthcare provider or for an emergency. Avoid public transportation.
  • If you must leave isolation, cover the rash and wear a well-fitting mask.

Because monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, vaccines developed to protect against smallpox viruses may be used to prevent monkeypox infections.

The U.S. government has two stockpiled vaccines—JYNNEOS and ACAM2000—that can prevent monkeypox in people who are exposed to the virus.

Learn more about monkeypox vaccines.

Various clinics for the vaccine are currently being organized by private health organizers. See below for current known clinics in OC.

Monkeypox can more accurately be described as “sexually transmissible.” In other words, sex is just one of the ways that monkeypox can be spread. In the past, monkeypox outbreaks have been linked to direct exposure to infected animals and animal products, with limited person-to-person spread. In the current monkeypox outbreak, the virus is spreading primarily through close personal contact. This may include contact with infectious lesions or respiratory secretions via close, sustained skin-to-skin contact that occurs during sex. However, any close, sustained skin-to-skin contact with someone who has monkeypox can spread the virus. The contact does not have to be exclusively intimate or sexual.

Learn more about lowering your risk of monkeypox during sex.

Monkeypox Vaccine Sites in Orange County

The Orange County Health Care Agency is now opened a limited amount of additional slots via Othena for both 1st and 2nd Jynneos (MonkeyPox vaccine) doses.

Jynneos vaccine clinics are scheduled to run every Wednesday and Friday in September, as well as October 5th and 7th.

The Jynneos clinic will continue to be held from 10am to 7pm on these days at the SSA Central Regional Office (2020 W. Walnut Street, Santa Ana 92703).

Appointments are for those considered high risk individuals and who self-attest to meeting the criteria outlined below:

Gay, bisexual, and other men (including cisgender and transgender men) who have sex with men (MSM) or transgender women who meet at least one of the following criteria:

Have been diagnosed with a bacterial sexually transmitted disease (e.g., chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis) in the past 3 months, OR

Have engaged in chemsex or group sex with other men, OR

Have had sex recently with anonymous male partners, OR

Have attended sex-on-premises venues (e.g., saunas, bathhouses, sex clubs), OR

Have engaged in survival and/or transactional sex, OR

Are part of other populations who are at high risk of monkeypox exposure, as identified through local epidemiological investigations. Among this group, persons who are living with HIV (particularly those with CD4 count <200/mm3 or an opportunistic infection) or other conditions that cause immunocompromise.

All those who are eligible can schedule an appointment on any of the available days below. Clinics are by appointment only.

Check Vaccine Availability Here

Other Monkeypox Resources