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Half of gay and bi men have reduced their sexual activity because of monkeypox

A man is vaccinated
Posed by model (Photo: Shutterstock)

Almost half of gay and bi men in the US say they have reduced the amount of sex they have because of the monkeypox outbreak. That’s according to a new survey released by the CDC.

Yesterday, authorities revealed monkeypox has now been detected in all 50 states of the US. The number of cases has topped 14,000. The vast majority of those cases are in men who have sex with men. However, anyone who has close personal contact with someone infected is at risk.

Alongside this news, the CDC released data from a survey it conducted in the first half of August.

It found that 48% of online respondents said they’d reduced their number of sexual partners.

Fifty percent said they’d reduced their number of one-time sexual encounters.

Forty-nine percent said they’d reduced the sex they enjoyed with men met via dating apps or at sex venues.

World Health Organization’s advice to gay men

In July, the director general for the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said 98% of the monkeypox cases detected since the outbreaks emerged in May had been among men who have sex with men. He advised them to take action to protect themselves.

“That means making safe choices for yourself and others, for men who have sex with men,” Tedros said. “This includes, for the moment, reducing your number of sexual partners.”

Experts also recommend gay and bi men seek vaccination against the infection.

Last week, US officials announced they were rolling out an extra 1.8million vaccine shots. The increase comes after authorities agreed to give people a fifth of a shot. Experts reckon it’s almost as protective as a full shot and stretches the limited supply currently available (1.8million is equivalent to 360,000 full-dose vials of vaccine).

Related: The FDA just made a big change to monkeypox vaccine strategy

Other health experts say that it’s also a good idea to check potential sexual partners for any signs of monkeypox lesions.

What is monkeypox

Monkeypox is caused by a virus similar to smallpox. Early symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.

It will often be accompanied by a chickenpox-like rash, with lesions tending to eventually scab over and fall off.

Monkeypox lesions
Monkeypox lesions (Photo: UK Health Security Agency)

It’s usually a mild, self-limiting illness, and most people will recover within weeks. However, the deadliest variant of the virus can be fatal for up to one in ten of those infected.

The form of the virus currently circulating is milder, with a fatality rate of less than 1 percent.

Anyone who feels unwell and notices an unusual rash should seek medical help.

Related: Things go from bad to worse after doctor notices man “riddled” with monkeypox on crowded subway