Men who often have sex with men can get the smallpox vaccine in the UK. With this, the authorities hope to contain the outbreak of Monkey Pox. Although the virus is not limited to the gay community, this group is one of the first to have ‘the opportunity to protect themselves’ from the virus.
“By expanding vaccine offerings to people at higher risk, we hope to break the chains of transmission,” says Dr. Mary Ramsay of the Health Security Agency.
It is not about all gay and bisexual men, but about the group that has multiple sex partners and/or participates in group sex. Namely, this is the group where the current outbreak is particularly taking place, according to the health service of UK. 99% of Monkey Pox infections in the UK are in men, the majority of whom also have sex with men.
The vaccine is not specific for monkey pox, but for the “common” smallpox. Nevertheless, it is expected that it is 85% effective against the monkey pox, reports AP news agency.
Whether the Netherlands will also take this step is not yet clear. The spread of the virus appears to be increasing. The majority of infected are homosexual.
Because the current outbreak of Monkey Pox seems to occur mainly among gay and bisexual men, LGBT+organizations fear ‘stereotypes and homophobia’. But there is also fear of discrimination within the community, based on sexual behavior. This is due to the fact that in the initial phase of the outbreak, many infections were linked to the Darklands festival in Antwerp.
It is not yet clear exactly how the monkey pox spreads, but skin contact seems to be one of the main routes of infection. The WHO recommends using a condom during sex to prevent possible transmission.
Starting complaints of the Monkey Pox are fever, chills, headache and fatigue. A few days after the fever, you will have a rash with vesicles. This rash usually starts in the face and then spreads to the entire body.