Mpox Toolkit for People Who Work in Sex Trades or Conduct Outreach to Sex Workers
Who should use this toolkit? People engaged in sex work or sex trades and professionals that serve or conduct outreach to sex workers.
What is this toolkit about? This toolkit provides helpful mpox information and resources to help prevent the spread of mpox virus and reduce the chance of getting mpox.
How should I use this toolkit? To find key resources on mpox, including links to resources that can be shared with clients and colleagues.
In the 2022 multinational mpox outbreak, data show that the virus is spreading mostly through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including sex, with someone who has mpox. People engaged in sex work or sex trades may have an increased chance of exposure to mpox. Organizations working with people in sex trades can ensure resources are available to prevent the spread of mpox.
For People Engaged in Sex Work or Sex Trades
If you engage in sex work or sex trades, you may have an increased chance of getting mpox. This is because mpox can be spread through sexual activity and close, skin-to-skin contact, and less commonly through touching clothes, linens, sex toys, or fetish gear used by someone with mpox.
There is a vaccine that can help protect you from getting mpox. Contact your local health department to find out if you’re eligible for the vaccine and where it’s available in your area, or visit the vaccine locator.
- If you engage in sex work or sex trades, you can help protect yourself from mpox by:
- Learning about how it spreads and how to lower your risk during sexual activity.
- Reviewing the signs and symptoms of mpox and checking your body and people with whom you have close, skin-to-skin contact with for rashes or lesions.
- Getting vaccinated if you are eligible. Contact your local health department to see what the vaccination options are in your community. A mpox vaccine locator tool is also available.
- Washing linens and disinfecting sex toys and fetish gear as often as possible.
- Using a waterproof mattress protector or a waterproof play sheet (available at fetish shops) that is disinfected between each use.
- Printing and sharing educational resources about mpox with peers and clients. You can also share Infographics on social media.
- Continuing to use harm reduction services and getting tested for HIV and other STIs.
- If you think you have mpox or might have been exposed, reach out to a service or medical provider to discuss testing or vaccination.
- If you are sick with mpox, you are advised to stay at home (isolate) if you have mpox symptoms, including until your mpox rash has healed and a new layer of skin has formed. If you have been diagnosed with mpox, it’s important to notify your close contacts that they may have been exposed. If you don’t have health insurance or have concerns about your ability to pay for medical care, you may be able to obtain services at a federally qualified health center.
For Professionals That Serve or Conduct Outreach to Sex Workers
In the course of their usual work, social services and outreach professionals are not considered to be at-risk for mpox exposure unless they also engage in sex work or other activities that might put them at risk. If staff members are concerned about a possible exposure, they can review information on monitoring and risk assessment.
- Service and outreach professionals can help people who have been exposed to or have symptoms of mpox by having clear processes in place.
- Service and outreach professionals can work with health departments to support access to mpox testing and vaccination for the people that they serve.
- Mpox vaccination coverage can be improved through vaccination events that are:
- Paired with information about the vaccine and other services,
- At multiple time points, and
- At locations where people engaged in sex work access supportive services, work, or spend time.
- Service and outreach professionals can share fact-based mpox educational materials with sex workers and ensure communication with sex workers reduces stigma.