The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday updated its monkeypox advice to suggest people most at risk, namely men who have sex with men, “take a temporary break” from those behaviors to help “contain … the outbreak.”
Among the updates are suggestions that people “take a temporary break” from sexual activity until considered vaccinated; limit their number of sexual partners; avoid “spaces” for anonymous sex with multiple partners; use condoms; and wear gloves during particular sexual activities.
These five suggestions to reduce the chance of spread were added to the seven that appeared on the webpage when it was updated on July 12. In that previous update, the CDC offered suggestions for sexual activities for people who have (or think they have) “monkeypox and … decide to have sex.”
Friday’s update contains stronger messaging, with the CDC now saying “the best way to protect yourself and others is to avoid sex of any kind … while you are sick.” People should especially “avoid touching any rash.”
The updates come a day after the Biden administration declared a public health emergency for monkeypox in a bid to unlock funding and more powers to deal with the virus. Some states, including New York, California, and Indiana, have declared their own public health emergencies for similar reasons.
The updated advice appears on the CDC’s “Safer Sex, Social Gatherings, and Monkeypox” webpage which contains detailed and specific information tailored to lowering the risk of transmission during particular sexual activities.
“While CDC works to contain the current monkeypox outbreak and learn more about the virus, this information can help you make informed choices when you are in situations or places where monkeypox could be spread,” reads a statement on the webpage which wasn’t there in July.
“Monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, but it is often transmitted through close, sustained physical contact, which can include sexual contact.”
The CDC has also advised people to consider the chances of skin-to-skin contact when attending festivals or raves.
“Festivals, events, and concerts where attendees are fully clothed and unlikely to share skin-to-skin contact are safer. However, attendees should be mindful of activities (like kissing) that might spread monkeypox,” the CDC webpage reads.
“A rave, party, or club where there is minimal clothing and where there is direct, personal, often skin-to-skin contact has some risk. Avoid any rash you see on others and consider minimizing skin-to-skin contact.”
The CDC especially noted the increased risk of spread at these events in “enclosed spaces” where people go for “intimate, often anonymous sexual contact with multiple partners.”
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