Is monkeypox a sexually transmitted disease?

The world faces a new health alert after the spread of monkeypox which began in AprilSo far, most affected patients have been men who have sex with other men, although cases have also been recorded in women and children.

This profile has led physicians and researchers to wonder if we are facing a new sexually transmitted infectionalthough it is still too early to arrive at this deduction.

monkey pox

Monkeypox received this name in 1958 when it was detected in some monkeys in a laboratory in Denmark, but in 1970, the virus was detected in humansthat is, it has become a zoonotic viral disease.

Today, 52 years after this transmission from ape to man, the world faces an epidemic in 74 countries and from April to date there have been reports nearly 20,000 cases worldwide and deaths have already been recorded.

How is monkeypox spread?

As we mentioned, It is considered a zoonotic viral disease., which means it can be transmitted from animals to humans. In this case monkeys.

Research so far indicates that it can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected patient’s lesions or contaminated surfaces such as objects and even patients’ clothing, so it is important to disinfect and maintain hygiene.

And although an infectious load has been detected in other biological samples such as saliva or semen, little is still known about the presence of the virus in this one.

The World Health Organization says people are contagious as long as they have symptoms and even it is not known whether asymptomatic people can transmit the disease.

Symptoms of Monkey Pox

According to the WHO, early symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, swelling, back pain, muscle aches and listlessness.

Rashes usually appear on the first or third day fever; These start on the face and then on to the body, often seen on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, but also appear on the mouth, genitals and near the eyes.

These rashes can be flat or slightly raised with water, they can be itchy and inflamed before crusting over and falling off. Like smallpox, they can cause scarring.

Fortunately, in most cases symptoms usually go away on their own within weeks, however, people with weakened immune systems, such as children, the elderly, or people with chronic illnesses, may experience more severe symptoms leading to death.

monkey pox

Is monkeypox a sexually transmitted disease?

The big question facing the scientific community is whether to classified as a sexually transmitted disease due to the profile of most patients, i.e. men who have sex with other men.

However, researchers and spokespersons for LGBQ+ organizations have struggled to communicate the risks of monkeypox without falling into stigma, so they avoid sending the wrong message to the population that could have serious consequences.

So far, the message is that anyone can get the disease, but a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that 98% of cases were detected in men who have sex with men.

“Monkeypox is a sexually transmitted disease has not been conclusively proven. It seems so, and we all think so, but we would need to grow the virus in semen to prove it is transmissible. ‘has not been done so far,’ says Javier Membrillo, coordinator of the monkeypox working group of the Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (SEIMC).

Dr. Gustavo Lopardo, vice-president of the Pan American Association for Infectious Diseases and educational coordinator of FUNCEI in Buenos Aires, also points out that “monkey pox is a disease that is transmitted by very close contact, and that it currently behaves as a transmission infection Most people who have been diagnosed are men who have sex with other men.

However, despite all these indicators, no clear proof of transmission yet through semen or vaginal secretions.

For Paul Hunter, professor of health protection at Norwich Medical School “it is almost certain that monkeypox is sexually transmitted”, however labeling it as a sexually transmitted disease implies that people use a condom as the only measure of protection, regardless of the fact that a naked hug can cause an infection.

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