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Home / News / World /  Monkeypox is not sexually transmitted disease but…: Experts on why it is impacting sexual health
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Monkeypox virus can enter your body through broken skin, eyes, nose or mouth, and it also can be passed on by direct contact during sex. And with most recent cases detected in gay or bisexual men in the UK, health agency UKHSA alerted men who have sex with men to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions. However, with the disease being stigmatised enough, several experts have pointed out that it is ‘not a sexually transmitted disease but just a viral infection’

So far, about 80 cases have been confirmed in at least 12 countries, and another 50 suspected cases are being investigated. As per WHO, Monkeypox symptoms last from 2 to 4 weeks. Severe cases can occur. In recent times, the case fatality ratio has been around 3-6%

UK sexual health clinics on alert

Monkeypox could have a "massive impact" on access to sexual health services, doctors have warned. A BBC report said, British Association for Sexual Health and HIV has already notified that it was concerned about the effect on other infections. In London, sexual health clinics have stopped people from walking in altogether. And the staff who have come in contact with patients have been advised to isolate. 

Dr Claire Dewsnap, a consultant in genitourinary medicine and president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, said, as reported by BBC, staff in sexual health clinics were "already under significant pressure" and monkeypox was making that situation worse.

"I am concerned about the potential impact on access to sexual health generally."

Is Monkeypox a sexual disease? 

Health officials have pointed out that the virus is not sexually transmitted but spreads through prolonged face-to-face contact and respiratory droplets. It is also spread by open sores, contact with bodily fluids or by touching contaminated clothes or bedding.

“It's just a virus," Ken Monteith, the executive director of Quebec's network of AIDS organizations (COCQ-SIDA) told CBC. And speaking against how the disease is being stigmatised he said, “it doesn't really matter who it is, who has it. It isn't generated by an identity, it's generated by itself."

Adding Dr. Réjean Thomas, sexual diseases expert said, "The disease is not dangerous … at least the form that we're seeing here, it doesn't look severe."

How does monkeypox spread? 

The virus can spread through touching or using clothes or towels of someone who is infected; touching monkeypox skin blisters;  coughs or sneezing. 

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.

A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body. The rash changes and goes through different stages - a bit like chicken pox - before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.

How long does it take to recover from the disease? 

If you get infected with the virus, it usually takes between five and 21 days for the first symptoms to appear.

A smallpox jab offers some good protection against monkeypox since the two viruses are quite similar.

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