Monkeypox Facts for People Who are Sexually Active

Monkeypox: Get the Facts

  • Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus
  • Monkeypox can make you sick including a rash or sores (pox), often with an earlier flu-like illness
  • Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact including:
    • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, sores, or scabs
    • Contact with objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox
    • Through respiratory droplets or oral fluids from a person with monkeypox
illustration of couple snuggling in bed
  • This contact can happen during intimate sexual contact including:
    • Oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals or anus of a person with monkeypox
    • Hugging, massage, kissing, or talking closely
    • Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with monkeypox, such as bedding, towels and sex toys
  • We know the virus can be spread in fluid or pus from monkeypox sores, and are trying to better understand if virus could be present in semen, vaginal fluids or other body fluids

What Are the Symptoms?

illustration of 5 symptoms. fever, headache, backache, chills, rash
  • Early flu-like symptoms of monkeypox can include:
    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Muscle aches and backache
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • Chills
    • Exhaustion
  • A rash or sores, sometimes located on or near the genitals or anus, but sometimes in other areas like the hands, feet, chest, or face – sores will go through several stages before healing
  • Sores may be inside the body, including the mouth, vagina, or anus
  • Some people experience a rash or sores first, followed by other symptoms and some only experience a rash or sores
  • Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until all sores have healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.

If You Have a New or Unexplained Rash, Sores, or Other Symptoms…

illustration of doctor with note pad
  • See your healthcare provider – if you don’t have a provider or health insurance, visit a public health clinic near you
  • When you see a healthcare provider for possible monkeypox, remind them that this virus is circulating in the community
  • Avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until you have been checked out

If You or Your Partner Have Monkeypox…

  • Follow the treatment and prevention recommendations of your healthcare provider
  • Avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until all your sores have healed and you have a fresh layer of skin formed.