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Monkeypox is spreading through sex: Is it an STD? Here’s what to know

Monkeypox has been a hot topic of conversation, especially since the first probable case of monkeypox was discovered this week in New Jersey.

Monkeypox was found to have been spread through sexual intercourse in almost all recent cases worldwide.

This begs the question: Is monkeypox a sexually transmitted disease (STD)?

This is what you need to know.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers first discovered monkeypox in 1958 when a “smallpox-like” outbreak appeared in monkeys kept for research, which is how the disease “monkey pox” got its name.

But it was not until 1970 that the first human case of monkeypox appeared in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Since then, monkeypox has appeared in humans who have lived in or traveled to countries in central and western Africa.

But the most recent cases of monkeypox have not spread through travel to Africa. Most of the cases have occurred without any direct link to Africa but through sexual contact.

Although many of the most recent cases “are within gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky called for addressing the issue with “science” and not “stigma.” ”.

“While some groups may have a higher chance of exposure right now, infectious diseases don’t care across state or international borders. They are not contained on social media and the risk of exposure is not limited to any particular group,” she added.

Monkeypox is usually spread when someone comes into contact with an animal, another human, or materials contaminated with the virus, according to the CDC.

The virus can enter the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract, the eyes, the nose, or the mouth.

The World Health Organization (WHO) clarified at a recent meeting that while these recent cases of monkeypox can be transmitted through sexual intercourse, it does not make it a sexually transmitted infection.

“Many diseases can be transmitted through sexual contact. You can get a cough or cold through sexual contact, but that doesn’t mean it’s a sexually transmitted disease,” said Andy Seale, who advises the WHO on sexually transmitted infections.

The symptoms of monkeypox are like a milder version of smallpox, except that monkeypox causes swollen lymph nodes, while smallpox does not.

According to the CDC, monkeypox begins with the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle pains
  • Back pain
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • Shaking chills
  • Exhaustion

One to three days after the onset of symptoms, such as a fever, patients begin to develop a rash on the face before spreading to other parts of the body.

The illness usually lasts 2 to 4 weeks before running its course through the body. However, in some areas of the world, such as Africa, the disease can be fatal.

The CDC states that 1 in 10 people in Africa who get monkeypox die from it.

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Katherine Rodriguez can be contacted at krodriguez@njadvancemedia.com. Do you have a tip? Tell us in nj.com/tips.

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