Manchester Pride is just around the corner and we know some Festival goers may have some concerns relating to Monkeypox.
Monkeypox is a rare infection that has most commonly found in west or central Africa. There has recently been an increase in cases in the UK, and a rise in the cases recorded in Manchester, but the risk of catching it is still relatively low.
The virus is passed on through skin-to-skin contact, however, the research does suggest that the virus is predominantly being passed on through intimate, sexual contact including kissing and cuddling.
Anyone can catch Monkeypox, however, the majority of cases seen in the UK have been in gay, bi and other men who have sex with men, with the virus being passed on predominantly via close contact in interconnected sexual networks.
Gay, bi and other men who have sex with men with multiple sexual partners are at higher risk of having frequent or very close contact with someone with Monkeypox.
While the infection is mild for many, it can cause severe symptoms and pain and some people require hospitalisation.
Monkeypox infection usually starts with fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and fatigue. It can take between 5 days and 21 days after infection for the first symptoms to appear.
This is followed a few days later by the appearance of a rash, often starting on the face then spreading to other parts of the body including the genitals, anus, hands, and/or in the mouth. It starts as raised spots, which turn into small blisters filled with fluid (lesions), eventually forming scabs which later fall off. Some people might have a single lesion and other people have lots of lesions.
A person with monkeypox is considered contagious from the onset of symptoms until all of the blisters (lesions) have scabbed over, all of the scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed underneath. This can take several weeks.
Let’s work together to help keep each other safe at Manchester Pride. There are still limitations on vaccine supply in Manchester, so at the minute the best thing you can do is reduce the amount of close skin-to-skin contact you are having to prevent contracting the virus.
Be aware of the symptoms of Monkeypox and check yourself before you travel to Manchester or attend any events. This could be just one spot on your penis or anus. If you have any symptoms please self-isolate at home and call 111 or your sexual health clinic. If you are registered with Northern Sexual Health, you may be able to find some relevant information here.
If you are hooking up with someone new at a Manchester Pride, we suggest you exchange contact details with sexual partners, to help us limit further transmission where cases occur.
Required isolation for very close contacts has now ended, but it is still a good idea for contacts of cases to take a break from sex and avoid any skin-to-skin contact. Please consider sitting out upcoming pride events if you have been identified as a close contact of someone with Monkeypox.
Further information about Monkeypox can be found: