Meet So.Gay, the new destination created by gays, for gays 🏳️‍🌈 So.Gay is bringing gay culture to life 🏳️‍🌈 Meet So.Gay, the new destination created by gays, for gays 🏳️‍🌈 So.Gay is bringing gay culture to life 🏳️‍🌈 Meet So.Gay, the new destination created by gays, for gays 🏳️‍🌈 So.Gay is bringing gay culture to life 🏳️‍🌈 Meet So.Gay, the new destination created by gays, for gays 🏳️‍🌈 So.Gay is bringing gay culture to life 🏳️‍🌈 Meet So.Gay, the new destination created by gays, for gays 🏳️‍🌈 So.Gay is bringing gay culture to life 🏳️‍🌈 Meet So.Gay, the new destination created by gays, for gays 🏳️‍🌈 So.Gay is bringing gay culture to life 🏳️‍🌈

What gay men need to know about Monkeypox ahead of Pride month

Share This Post

Pride season is on the horizon, bringing a whirlwind of marches, parties, jockstraps, and harnesses.

However, practitioners across clinics in Manhattan – and the country – are aware that alongside the unabashed celebrations comes a significant surge in STI transmissions; nurses are cracking their fingers in readiness for the increased workload. 

Monkeypox may seem like a distant memory – but should we be aware of its potential spread this season? Mpox once had the nation in a chokehold – remains a threat, even if it’s not technically considered an STI. It can spread through close contact of any kind with an infected person. 

Recap: What is MPox (formerly ‘Monkeypox’)

Mpox is an infectious disease characterized by a painful rash and blisters that typically appear on various body areas, notably the face, torso, and limbs. When transmitted sexually, the genitals may also be affected. Other symptoms include enlarged lymph nodes and fever. While most individuals fully recover from Mpox, some may experience severe illness, including fatalities.

But don’t be afraid—be informed. So.Gay reached out to Dr. David Agus, one of the world’s leading doctors and pioneering biomedical researchers, to spill the health tea on everything you need to know ahead of Pride season – and the foreseeable future. 

First and foremost, Dr. Agus corrected my use of the term “Monkeypox,” which was the original scientific name for the virus because it was initially seen in monkeys. 

“Even though the dominant transmission of this virus is not monkeys,” clarified Dr. Agus. “There are all these implications of a ‘monkey’ that changing the name to Mpox certainly has less stigma. What [health providers] want is for people to be transparent and to remove any stigma.”

In 2022, the World Health Organization renamed the disease to adhere to modern guidelines for naming illnesses, with particular consideration for the stigma disproportionately shouldered by people of color.

Unprotected sex is always risky 

“High-risk behavior is always high-risk behavior,” said Dr. Agus. 

Engaging in unprotected sex is always going to come with risks – not just in June. The rise in STDs can be attributed to an increase in hookups and sex parties, with more gay men participating in the horny activities.

According to Dr. Agus, it’s not about passing judgment or dictating how individuals should live their lives but rather about encouraging everyone to make educated decisions about their sexual health, value system, and risk tolerance. 

Mpox rates have doubled compared to last year

ABC News reported a “national year-to-date estimate of 511 cases as of mid-March, compared to 287 cases during the same period last year. New York City has been dealing with over 100 cases so far this year, whereas last year, the city only had 30.”

During the peak of the Mpox outbreak (when it was in the thousands), infected gay men took to TikTok to chronicle their journey as if their symptoms were part of a “Get Ready with Me” video. 

This humanized the virus, alleviated fears, and provided solace to those suffering in silence, letting them know they weren’t alone.

The queer community has become relatively mum about the virus, and those infected now experience fear of judgment if they come forward.

Mpox is neither a trend nor the boogeyman

Panicking has never solved a crisis, but all men who have sex with men, the most high-risk group, should be aware that Mpox rates are likely to rise. 

Although current numbers might seem marginal, Dr. Agus emphasized how quickly the problem can exponentially escalate when left unchecked. Think about high school when you’re taught that sex is not just with your partner but everyone they had sex with. 

“We know that the key is education to understand the risk and use the preventive strategies that we have to mitigate the risk not to zero but to a relatively low number,” said Dr. Agus. 

Preventative strategies include scanning your partner for sores, as coming into contact with them is the most surefire way to contract the virus. Of course, this is harder to do in a dark room, but that’s where risk tolerance comes into play. 

He also urged anyone who feels sick to refrain from playing with others. It might be a mild cold or the beginning symptoms of the virus; regardless, why would you want to spread any ailment? 

Don’t justify your symptoms – listen to them.

If you’re not vaccinated, what the hell are you doing?

Perhaps vaccination against Mpox is a personal choice. But Dr. Agus said it’s still the most effective way to reduce the risk of contraction or the severity of your symptoms. Anyone living with HIV should be aware their health is more at risk. 

Historically, the gay community has been forced to take our health into our own hands when government leadership failed us, as seen during the darker days of the AIDS crisis. 

This was evident again when the gay population successfully overturned the meteoric rise in Mpox cases nationwide in 2022. Now, we must ensure that those case numbers do not skyrocket again.

Mpox is not a chapter we can just close, but that doesn’t mean Pride shouldn’t be celebrated in full glory. Again, how that’s done will look different for every person and their concept of risk tolerance and reduction. 

Dr. Agus said that closing your eyes to a problem doesn’t mean it’s not there.

“There’s a 27.5% chance of having another [influenza-like] pandemic in the next decade that we’re not talking about or preparing for,” he said. “We’re just closed off to that possibility because Covid was such a horrible global experience.”
So.Gay believes that if such a problem ever does strike, gay men will be among the first to be ready to take the necessary precautions – both for ourselves and our fellow members of the community

Related Posts

Phillip Collins is helping spread Good Black Art across America 

Phillip Collins, the founder of Good Black Art,  experienced...

2 viral twinks break the internet with a “Second Thought”

Gay men need a "Second Thought" on quick-hit hookup...

The 12 hottest pics from Sniffies’ Pride Party

Go behind-the-scenes of Sniffies HQ for the platform's hot-AF...

PHOTOS: Archer’s House Party takes over Fire Island

Archer, the dating app for gay and queer men,...

So.Gay’s 5 home fragrance picks from gay-owned Poured Candle Bar

Gay men, perhaps more than most, appreciate the intoxicating...

NYC Hot Spots: The Nines

From ambiance to happy hour to events to location,...