UK health officials recommend monkeypox vaccine for gay, bisexual men


monkeypox cdc photo
Images: US Center for Disease Control

UK health officials recommend vaccines for gay and bisexual men at risk of monkeypox. 

The new advice comes as the current outbreak in the UK reaches 793 cases.

Although not an STI, a “notable proportion” of cases are gay and bisexual men.

Monkeypox spreads through close contact with an infected person, or through clothing or bedsheets.

In May, the World Health Organisation condemned the stigma surrounding monkeypox.

“While we’re seeing some cases amongst men who have sex with men, this is not a ‘gay disease’ as some people on social media have attempted to label it,” WHO adviser Andy Seale said.

“Anybody can contract Monkeypox through close contact.”

Monkeypox vaccine criteria similar to PrEP

UKHSA said a vaccine designed to protect against smallpox would also offer protection against Monkeypox.

UKHSA said the vaccines will “break chains of transmission”.

Eligibility criteria would be similar to that used to assess those eligible for PrEP, UKHSA said.

A doctor may advise vaccination for someone who “has multiple partners, participates in group sex or attends ‘sex on premises’ venues.”

“This advice is given within the context of the current situation in the UK, where disease is typically mild and transmission is predominately occurring within the MSM population.”

It comes as South Korea reports its first two cases.

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