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Sex between men, not skin contact, is fueling monkeypox

"Monkeypox is largely transmitting through anal and oral intercourse between men..."

NBC NEWS – The claim that skin-to-skin contact during sex between men, not intercourse itself, drives most monkeypox transmission is likely backward, a growing group of experts say.

A registered nurse administers an intradermal monkeypox vaccine at a vaccination site on Aug. 15, 2022, in Miami.

Since the outset of the global monkeypox outbreak in May, public health and infectious disease experts have told the public that the virus is largely transmitting through skin-to-skin contact, in particular during sex between men.

Now, however, an expanding cadre of experts has come to believe that sex between men itself — both anal as well as oral intercourse — is likely the main driver of global monkeypox transmission.

The skin contact that comes with sex, these experts say, is probably much less of a risk factor.

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In recent weeks, a growing body of scientific evidence — including a trio of studies published in peer-reviewed journals, as well as reports from national, regional and global health authorities — has suggested that experts may have framed monkeypox’s typical transmission route precisely backward.

Reconceiving the primary risk factors for transmission is crucial because of how it may affect guidance on reducing the risk of infection, including the question of whether demanding that people with the virus self-isolate has any substantial impact on transmission.

Dr. Aniruddha Hazra, medical director of the University of Chicago Sexual Wellness Clinic, referring to monkeypox and to recent studies that found the virus in semen, said”

“A growing body of evidence supports that sexual transmission, particularly through seminal fluids, is occurring with the current MPX outbreak.”

Consequently, scientists told NBC News that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health authorities should update their monkeypox communication strategies to more strongly emphasize the centrality of intercourse among gay and bisexual men, who comprise nearly all U.S. cases, to the virus’ spread … READ MORE. 

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