Aug 5, 2022 - Health

CDC: Limit sexual partners to avoid monkeypox

DC residents lined up at a monkeypox vaccination clinics on Aug. 5, 2022. Picture: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated guidance Friday recommending that people limit their sexual partners while waiting to get vaccinated against monkeypox.

Driving the news: While monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, it is often transmitted through "close, sustained physical contact, which can include sexual contact," the CDC said.

Details: If a person or their partner suspects they have monkeypox, the best protection "is to avoid sex of any kind (oral, anal, vaginal) and kissing or touching each other’s bodies," the agency said.

  • To reduce the chances of being exposed to monkeypox if sexually active, the CDC recommends limiting the number of sex partners.
  • "Spaces like back rooms, saunas, sex clubs, or private and public sex parties, where intimate, often anonymous sexual contact with multiple partners occurs—are more likely to spread monkeypox," the agency said.
  • Condoms alone may not prevent exposure to monkeypox since the rash can occur on other parts of the body.

But, but, but: "Have virtual sex with no in-person contact," the CDC wrote.

  • Consider having sex with your clothes on or covering areas where the rash is present, reducing as much skin-to-skin contact as possible, the agency added as an alternative.

Context: The head of the WHO suggested last week that men who have sex with men should temporarily limit their number of sexual partners, according to the Washington Post.

  • The CDC guidance, however, is not as blunt and does not single out men who have sex with men.

The big picture: The U.S. declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency on Thursday.

  • There were 7,510 reported cases of monkeypox in the U.S. as of Friday, according to CDC data.
  • That's up from less than 5,000 cases last week.

What's next: U.S. health officials said that said last week that 800,000 monkeypox vaccine doses will be made available for distribution.

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