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MPX (Monkeypox): What the LGBTQ+ Community Needs to Know

Key Updates

  • There are currently 29,248 confirmed cases in the United States, 5,572 cases in California, and 2,385 cases in Los Angeles County. (November 28, 2022)
     
  • APLA Health has delivered 4,061 vaccines to patients and clients. (October 25, 2022)
     
  • On September 29, LA County expanded MPX vaccine eligibility to additional groups. Vaccine will now be available to people who self-attest to being in the following groups:
    • Gay or bisexual men, or any men or transgender people who have sex with men or transgender people
    • Persons of any gender or sexual orientation who engage in commercial and/or transactional sex (e.g., sex in exchange for money, shelter, food, or other goods or needs)
    • Persons living with HIV, especially persons with uncontrolled or advanced HIV disease
    • Persons who had skin-to-skin or intimate contact with someone with suspected or confirmed monkeypox, including those who have not yet been confirmed by LA County Public Health
    • Sexual partners of people in any of the above groups
    • People who anticipate being in any of the above groups
  • (September 29, 2022)

  • Registration is no longer required to get vaccinated at LA County Public Health vaccination sites. If you are eligible, you can go to a Public Monkeypox Vaccination Site or visit MyTurn.ca.gov to find vaccination sites near you. Multiple sites are available for walk-up, while others may require an appointment. (September 9, 2022)
     
  • LA County announced that all first and second doses will now be administered intradermally, unless contraindicated. The FDA has advised that those under 18 years of age and adults who have a history of developing keloid scars should get the vaccine beneath the skin (subcutaneously), not between the layers of the skin (intradermally). (August 22, 2022)
     
  • APLA Health is scheduling second dose JYNNEOS vaccine appointments for APLA Health patients that received their first dose from us. (August 15, 2022)
     
  • APLA Health has begun using “MPX” as an abbreviation for monkeypox virus. This abbreviation is more medically accurate and helps to reduce stigma. (August 11, 2022)
     
  • On August 9, the FDA announced it is granting Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the JYNNEOS vaccine to be administered “intradermally” in two doses that are one-fifth the size of the current dose. Intradermal administration involves slipping a smaller-than-normal needle under the top layer of the skin to deposit the vaccine. The FDA said individuals who received their first dose subcutaneously can receive their second dose intradermally or subcutaneously. The FDA also authorized use of the vaccine, using the subcutaneous dosing route, in people younger than 18 years of age determined to be at high risk of MPX. (August 10, 2022)
     
  • The Department of Public Health has published a list of all community clinics in LA County offering MPX vaccine for their existing patients. (July 28, 2022)
     
  • The City of West Hollywood and The Los Angeles Blade hosted a “Monkeypox Town Hall” featuring a panel of public health experts on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. You can watch the event on YouTube here: youtube.com/wehotv. More details on the event here. (July 28, 2022)
     
  • The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has a Monkeypox Case Summary Dashboard on their website. (July 25, 2022)
     
  • Long Beach Department of Public Health (LBDPH) has received an allocation of the JYNNEOS vaccine from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. LBDPH has announced vaccine has been distributed to APLA Health Center, Long Beach, The LGBTQ Center Long Beach, The CARE Center, and a LBDPH staffed site. For the latest MPX developments in Long Beach, please visit: longbeach.gov/monkeypox. (July 19, 2022)
     
  • If you have already been vaccinated for Smallpox, you can not assume you will not get MPX. (July 14, 2022)

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated September 29, 2022

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently warning the public – gay and bisexual men in particular – about a worldwide outbreak of MPX.

Most cases have been among gay and bisexual men. However, MPX is not a “gay disease”. Anyone can contract the disease, as it is transmitted from one person to another by close physical contact with infectious sores, body fluids, respiratory droplets, and contaminated materials. Heterosexual people, women, transgender and nonbinary people, and others are also at potential risk of MPX.

The information below is intended to help prevent you from getting or spreading the virus. Please share this information with your friends and loved ones so that we can all be prepared as MPX continues to spread.

What is MPX?
MPX is a disease that is caused by infection with MPX virus. The virus is normally found in central and western African countries, but there have been outbreaks in other parts of the world. While MPX can be fatal in a small percentage of cases, no one is known to have died from the current outbreak in the U.S.

How is MPX spread?
MPX is spread through close, often skin-to-skin contact such as direct contact with infectious sores or body fluids (currently the most common way), or contact with materials (clothing, bedding, or towels) that have been used by someone with MPX. Respiratory spread is possible during prolonged face-to-face contact, but this does not appear to occur very often. The CDC is still trying to determine if the virus can spread when someone has no symptoms or be present in semen or vaginal fluids.

What are the symptoms?
MPX symptoms usually appear between 5 to 21 days after exposure. Most people with MPX will get a rash or sores – often located on or near the genitals or anus, but sometimes in other areas like the hands, feet, chest, or face. Sores may also appear inside the body, including the mouth, vagina, or anus. The CDC reports that other symptoms like fever, headache, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes do not always occur before the rash and may not occur at all. MPX can be spread from the time symptoms start until all sores, including scabs, have healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed – this can take several weeks.

What should I do if I have a new or unexplained rash, sores, or other symptoms?
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately. Don’t hesitate to advocate for your health and inform your provider of your concerns if you think you may have been exposed. Avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until you have been checked out by a health care provider and take a break from going out to bars, clubs, and other events – especially if they involve close, skin-to-skin contact. People without a regular health care provider that have developed symptoms can access services at the LA County Department of Public Health’s Sexual Health Clinics.

How can I protect myself at crowded places like raves, parties, clubs, and festivals?
Before attending, think about whether close, skin-to-skin contact is likely to occur at the event.

  • If you feel sick or have any rashes or sores, do not attend and contact your health care provider immediately.
  • Events where people are fully clothed and unlikely to share skin-to-skin contact are safer.
  • If there is minimal clothing and skin-to-skin contact at the event, try to avoid any rashes or sores you see on others and minimize skin-to-skin contact when possible.
  • Enclosed spaces, such as back rooms, saunas, or sex clubs, where there is minimal or no clothing and where intimate sexual contact occurs have a higher likelihood of spreading MPX.

How can I lower my risk of getting MPX during sex?
Talk to your partner about any recent illness and be aware of new or unexplained sores or rashes 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 or sores, do not have sex and see a health care provider immediately.
  • If you or your partner have (or think you might have) MPX, the best way to protect yourself and others is to not have sex of any kind (oral, anal, vaginal) and not kiss or touch each other’s bodies while you are sick, especially any rash or sores. Do not share things like towels, fetish gear, sex toys, and toothbrushes. Consider virtual sex and reduce skin-to-skin contact as much as possible.
  • The CDC gives further advice on staying free of MPX here.

Is there a vaccine to prevent MPX?
There are two vaccines to prevent MPX.

In LA County, the JYNNEOS vaccine is currently available to people who self-attest to being in the following groups:

  • Gay or bisexual men, or any men or transgender people who have sex with men or transgender people
  • Persons of any gender or sexual orientation who engage in commercial and/or transactional sex (e.g., sex in exchange for money, shelter, food, or other goods or needs)
  • Persons living with HIV, especially persons with uncontrolled or advanced HIV disease
  • Persons who had skin-to-skin or intimate contact with someone with suspected or confirmed monkeypox, including those who have not yet been confirmed by LA County Public Health
  • Sexual partners of people in any of the above groups
  • People who anticipate being in any of the above groups

Registration is no longer required to get vaccinated at LA County Public Health vaccination sites. If you are eligible, you can go to a Public Monkeypox Vaccination Site or visit MyTurn.ca.gov to find vaccination sites near you. Multiple sites are available for walk-up, while others may require an appointment.

Please check the “Key Updates” section above for the latest information on vaccine availability.

Where can I learn more?
As more information becomes available, APLA Health will update this page. You can also check out additional information from the CDC, the California Department of Public Health, and the LA County Department of Public Health. Building Healthy Online Communities has resources available in both English and Spanish.