Prism Health and Cascade AIDS Project are using the name, MPOX, to refer to the current human monkeypox virus (hMPXV) outbreak. The word Monkeypox harms people. It evokes racial stereotypes, reinforces offensive tropes about Africa and abets the kind of stigmatization that can prevent people from seeking medical care (Jacobs, 2022). You can read more about the importance of renaming this virus here.
Last Updated 09/16/2022 | Información in Español
What is MPOX?
MPOX is a rare disease caused by infection with hMPXV (the human version of the MPOX virus). MPOX is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. MPOX symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and MPOX is rarely fatal. MPOX is not related to chickenpox.
MPOX was discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research. Despite being named “monkeypox,” the source of the disease remains unknown. The first human case of MPOX was recorded in 1970. Prior to the 2022 outbreak, MPOX had been reported in people in several central and western African countries. Previously, almost all MPOX cases in people outside of Africa were linked to international travel to countries where the disease commonly occurs or through imported animals. These cases occurred on multiple continents.
Who is at risk for MPOX?
MPOX can affect anyone. When this most recent outbreak was first identified in Europe, it was linked to men who have sex with men who were at Queer events in Spain and Belgium. There is no specific biological reason for men who have sex with men to be at any higher risk (Fenway Health, 2022).
How many cases are there in Oregon?
For up-to-date case counts, please visit the Oregon Health Authority’s MPOX page here.
How does MPOX spread?
MPOX is spread primarily during direct, close, personal skin-to-skin contact with a person with symptoms, including through sex, kissing, cuddling and massage. In addition, contact with towels, clothing, bedding or other objects used by a person with the virus can also transmit the virus. Additionally, MPOX can be transmitted through large respiratory droplets or oral fluids via prolonged face-to-face contact. These types of contact may occur during activities such as sex, cuddling, massage, kissing, talking closely or caring for someone with the virus. MPOX can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. At this time, it is not known if MPOX can spread through semen or vaginal fluids.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of MPOX can include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, and/or a rash that looks like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body like hands feet, chest, genitals, or anus. Health officials say that in this outbreak many people are experiencing more mild flu-like symptoms, no fever and the rash is more frequently showing up on the genitals and anus in a more mild form. The rash usually appears within 1-3 days of feeling sick and goes through different stages before healing completely. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. Sometimes people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.
Here’s a Buzzfeed article about one person’s experience with MPOX: https://www.buzzfeed.com/mattford/i-have-monkeypox-my-symptoms-so-far
How long are people infectious?
People are infectious when symptoms begin until lesions have healed (scabs have fallen off). This may take 2-4 weeks.
What is the best way to prevent MPOX?
- Avoid sex or intimate contact if you or your partner have new skin lesions, fever, swollen lymph nodes or suspect one of you has been exposed to MPOX. Condoms do not prevent the spread of MPOX.
- Avoid bedding or clothing that has been used by someone with the MPOX infection
- Wash hands thoroughly if you have contact with someone with the virus.
What should you do if you think you have MPOX?
If you develop symptoms of MPOX, isolate yourself away from other people until you can be evaluated by a healthcare provider. Keep your rash covered and wear a mask around others. You’ll need to come into a clinic for an exam and possibly a swab of your rash to test for the virus. If you have symptoms or think you may have been exposed, you should seek care.
How does testing work?
MPOX is diagnosed by swabbing one of the pox or sores and sending it out for testing. It typically takes a few days to get results back at a minimum. If you believe you may have symptoms of MPOX, please contact your primary care provider to inquire about testing. If you do not have a primary care provider contact your local health department to find a testing location.
What should I do if I test positive?
Your healthcare team will contact you to talk about next steps. Please follow isolation recommendations until ALL lesions have healed (scabs have fallen off). Also watch for a call from your local health department. They will be reaching out to help coordinate vaccination and treatment (if indicated). They’ll also ask questions to identify other people who may have been exposed to MPOX (contact tracing).
How is MPOX treated?
MPOX is usually treated with supportive care at home with rest, hydration, and over-the-counter pain medications. However, the lesions can be quite painful. There are ways to help manage this discomfort so talk to your health care provider about what might work for you!
There is an antiviral medication, TPOXX (Tecovirimat), that is used in specific situations to treat MPOX, such as children under 8, pregnancy, severe immunocompromise, or skin lesions near the eye. Most people do not need TPOXX. Talk to your healthcare provider about if this is indicated in your situation.
People who have had skin-to-skin contact with someone diagnosed with MPOX may be able to receive a vaccine that may prevent the illness. The vaccine, that must be administered within 14 days of exposure, is in limited supply right now, but as supplies increase the state is hoping to offer to people at high risk before they are exposed to the virus.
Can you tell me more about the vaccine?
The primary vaccine being used is called JYNNEOS (also known as Imvamune or Imvanex). JYNNEOS can be used for pre-exposure prophylaxis for people at higher risk for MPOX or for post-exposure prophylaxis to minimize risk after a suspected or confirmed MPOX exposure.
Vaccine is available in limited supply and is being given to people who meet the eligibility criteria. Criteria, as defined by the Oregon Health Authority, prioritizes those who have been exposed to MPOX and those who may be at greater risk of getting MPOX. Call 503-988-8939 to learn more. Language interpretation is available. Find additional information on these pages.
Does Prism have the vaccine yet?
Yes! Prism is offering 1st and 2nd doses to Prism patients who qualify. Please call us to schedule at 503-445-7699.
We will also be offering MPOX vaccines at AIDS Walk NW this Saturday, September 19th from 9 am-2:30 pm to anyone interested! Stop by to see us at Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark St!
Are you giving the recently approved lower dose of Jynneos?
The FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization for a lower dose of JYNNEOS to be given intradermally (in the skin) that should offer the same protection as a full dose of vaccine which is given subcutaneously (under the skin). In accordance with Oregon Health Authority advisement, we are now administering this dose to anyone 18 years and older. For those under the age of 18, or who have a history of keloid scar development, we are still recommending the original dose and subcutaneous administration (back of the upper arm).
Here’s more on this strategy: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/08/09/fact-sheet-biden-administration-announces-key-actions-and-implementation-plan-to-increase-vaccine-supply/
Are there ways to have safer sex during this MPOX outbreak?
Here is information from the CDC on ways to have safer sex: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/pdf/MPX_Social_Gatherings_Safer_Sex-508.pdf
Other resources for MPOX information:
- 2022 U.S Monkeypox Outbreak Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/response/2022/index.html (English) https://www.cdc.gov/Spanish/monkeypox/response/2022/index.html (Spanish)
- Oregon Health Authority: https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/DISEASESCONDITIONS/DISEASESAZ/Pages/Orthopoxviruses.aspx
- OHA Press Release 7/7/22: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/ORDHS/bulletins/31f89ae
- Washington County Public Health: https://wcor.us/monkeypox
- Multnomah County Public Health: https://www.multco.us/health/diseases-and-conditions/monkeypox-hmpxv
- Clackamas County Public Health: https://www.clackamas.us/taxonomy/term/496
- Fenway Institute: https://fenwayhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/TFIR-337_Monkeypox-Fact-Sheet2.pdf
- San Francisco AIDS foundation: https://www.sfaf.org/collections/beta/health-alert-monkeypox-among-gay-bisexual-men/
- New York Times article written by Andrew Jacobs (Aug 24, 2022) : Why Experts Want to Rename Monkeypox
Resources for support:
Aging Well is a program through Cascade AIDS Project that was created to help support the well-being of aging adults living with or affected by HIV. It is a member-driven, community-based program developed in hopes to create a sense of belonging among these individuals, as well as anyone who supports the mission of the program.
To be a part of the program, all you have to do is get involved! No predetermined requirements are needed prior to involvement.
For more information, or to contact the Aging Well Program: agingwellnw.org
Jim Clay, Aging Well Program Team Lead
Craig Kolins, Aging Well Program Coordinator
Follow on social media @agingwellnw.org on Facebook and Instagram
- Has an LGBT Elder hotline available for more acute needs
- Available 24/7, 7 days a week
- In English and Spanish
They also offer ongoing calls where volunteers can connect and be in community with Elders. To sign up visit: https://www.sageusa.org/sageconnect/
Ain’t Dead Yet
Zoom support group that meets once a month. Met at the Q-center pre-COVID. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
LGBT National Help Center
Offers a telephone line that provides peer support, as well as help finding local resources.