A health agency in the US just shared new guidelines on how people can have safer sex amidst a monkeypox outbreak.
In a document called “Social Gatherings, Safer Sex and Monkeypox,” the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shared information to help people make informed decisions as the country has more than 100 cases of monkeypox.
This disease can make you sick with a flu-like illness and can include a rash that looks like pimples or blisters.
Monkeypox can spread to anyone through “close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact,” said the CDC, which believes that direct contact with rashes, sores, or scabs from a person with monkeypox is how it’s primarily spreading in the US.
Researchers are investigating if the virus can spread when someone has no symptoms and if the virus could be present in semen, vaginal fluids, and fecal matter.
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How monkeypox is spread during sex
Contact can also happen when you’re having sex, said the CDC, including:
- Oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butt) of a person with monkeypox.
- Hugging, massage, and kissing.
- Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with monkeypox and that have not been disinfected, such as bedding, towels, fetish gear, and sex toys.
Lowering monkeypox risk during sex
Sexual partners should be communicative about recent illnesses and rashes to each other.
“If you or your partner have recently been sick, currently feel sick, or have a new or an unexplained rash or sores, do not have sex and see a healthcare provider,” said the CDC.
The best way to protect yourself is not to have sex and avoid touching and sharing intimate items.
If you still decide to have sex if you or your partner have or think you might have monkeypox, here are the CDC’s tips to stay safe:
- Have virtual sex with no in-person contact.
- Masturbate together at a distance of at least 6 feet, without touching or any rash or sores.
- Consider having sex with your clothes on or covering areas where rash or sores are present, reducing as much skin-to-skin contact as possible.
- Avoid kissing.
- Remember to wash your hands, fetish gear, sex toys and any fabrics (bedding, towels, clothing) after having sex.
- Limit your number of partners to avoid opportunities for monkeypox to spread.