Healthcare

About half of men who have sex with men reduced sexual activity due to monkeypox: survey

FILE – A nurse administers a monkeypox vaccine at a walk-in clinic at the North Jersey Community Research Initiative in Newark, N.J., Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. On Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, U.S. health officials said they were making extra monkeypox vaccines available to places with events expected to draw crowds of men who have sex with men. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Roughly half of men who have sex with men have reported reducing their number of sexual partners and encounters in response to the monkeypox outbreak, according to a survey released on Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Forty-eight percent of the poll’s participants said they reduced their number of sexual partners, 50 percent reduced their number of one-time sexual encounters, and 49 percent reduced how much sex they had with partners they met through dating apps or sexual venues.

Public health bodies including the World Health Organization and the CDC have recommended that men who have sex with men consider reducing their number of sexual partners amid the ongoing monkeypox outbreak.

However, local public health officials have been cautious to recommend an abstinence-only approach during the outbreak, with many pointing out that this strategy is unlikely to be effective, though it was favored by the federal government when facing the HIV/AIDS epidemic during the 1980s and 1990s.

Instead of advising against having sex, officials have recommended that men who have sex with men practice safe sexual conduct. That includes making a visual inspection of any potential sexual partners to see if they have any possible monkeypox lesions, through which the virus is primarily spread.

While a large portion of monkeypox cases in the current outbreak are believed to have been contracted during sexual contact, the virus is not a sexually transmitted infection and can be spread through any prolonged contact with the skin, clothing or bedsheets of an infected individual.

The most recent federal data shows that more than 14,000 monkeypox cases have been confirmed in the U.S. According to the demographic data made available by the CDC, more than 95 percent of cases are among male patients, though this data appears to be incomplete, with only about 9,600 cases accounted for in the demographic breakdown.

About 145 monkeypox cases have been confirmed among female patients, 18 cases among transgender men and 33 cases among transgender women. About 150 cases are reported to be among people between the ages of zero and 20.

Tags bisexual men CDC gay men monkeypox monkeypox outbreak
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