Monkeypox / Mpox

 

Monkeypox or Mpox* is a rare disease that can spread from person-to-person through close contact including, but not limited to, sexual contact. Being in close contact with an infected person’s skin, bodily fluids, mucosal surfaces (eyes, nose, and mouth), and contaminated objects or shared personal items such as clothing, linens, bedding, towels, toothbrushes, and utensils can spread the virus. The first cases of monkeypox in Canada were identified in May 2022. and cases have been found in several provinces, including British Columbia.

 

Prevention and Disease Information

Emerging and frequently updated information on Monkeypox / Mpox is available at the following sites:

 

Checkhimout.ca/MPOX

Health Initiatve for Men (HIM) has created a Mpox info hub where communities of 2SGBTQ+ across the province can look to find vaccination appointments as well as other information. As new clinics are added in new communities across the province HIM will add them to their page. This page also features media resources to share from their Monkeypox is here campaign.

 

BC Centre for Disease Control

See the BC Centre for Disease Control has BC overview and information, including immunization updates. If you’re looking for a good poster to share, they produced this one in partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health. Download and share.

 

Public Health Agency of Canada

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is working with provincial and territorial public health partners to investigate cases of monkeypox in Canada. PHAC has information available on Canada.ca with regards to:

The PHAC Stakeholder toolkit – contains information sheets, infographics, key messages, social media posts, and more.

 

Advocacy

*mpoxifesto
With concerns about the stigma and implicit racism that could become attached to the virus, some are choosing to refer to it as mpox. This site is written by someone who had it: “In case it’s not obvious, mpox = monkeypox. But less problematic a term. Can we stop perpetuating the racist, harmful, and inaccurate associations with the African continent and black bodies please?”

My Experience With Monkeypox, and What It Has Taught Me About Stigma
One thing that has added insult to my infection is how some people in our LGBTQ+ and HIV communities have been publicly blaming those of us who’ve contracted the pox, saying on social media that we brought it on ourselves by being promiscuous. Truthfully, I can handle the slut shaming; I am a grown man who is sexually active. The reality is that although I’ve had sex with several men, it only took one to give me monkeypox. Just like HIV. And that poor guy who transmitted it to me, I’m sure, didn’t know he had it.

Community calls on government for emergency supports and services
“People with confirmed or suspected infections will not be able to work in-person, or enter community spaces to access food and other necessities. Due to uncertainties regarding the duration of transmission risk, some individuals may need to self-isolate for several weeks. For many people in Canada, following this public health directive will mean not being able to pay for rent, food, or medications.”

2SLGBTQ2S+ advocates fear monkeypox stigma could ‘spread like a virus’
While everyone is susceptible to the virus, clusters of cases have been reported among men who have sex with men, officials say. For some 2SLGBTQ+ advocates, this raises the spectre of sexual stigmatization that saw gay and bisexual men scapegoated for the spread of HIV-AIDS in the 1980s. (May 27, 2022)

 

More Resources to Explore

Monkeypox 2022 Outbreak is declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. What are the implications?
Webinar: BC-CfE HIV Care Rounds (live August 24; on demand following). On completion of this webinar, attendees will be able to identify the presentation of Monkeypox (MPX) associated with the 2022 Outbreak, describe the different diagnostic samples required dependent on disease stage, and discuss the countermeasures we have to prevent transmission.

Monkeypox: Information for service providers in Canada (CATIE)
On-demand webinar (recorded June 29, 2022). While monkeypox has not traditionally been considered a sexually transmitted infection, HIV and other sexual health service providers have been on the front lines of detecting these outbreaks and sharing information with other service providers and affected communities across the country. Who is most at risk, what can be done to prevent transmission, what care and support can be offered to people with monkeypox, and how can organizations communicate effectively without perpetuating stigma against marginalized communities?

Safer Socializing and Sex (Smart Sex)
Transmission, safer sex, what to consider when attending events.

Mpox Guidance for Events: Created for Pride; useful for all kinds of gatherings.

 

 

Page last reviewed and updated August 5, 2022
Image: Alex Motoc on Unsplash