Monkeypox Outbreak is Changing Sexual Behaviors
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) newly published Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports indicate male sexual behaviors are changing, leading to a reduction in acquiring and transmitting the Monkeypox virus (MPXV).
"Our numbers are still increasing, [but] the rate of rising is lower," CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky informed NPR on August 26, 2022.
According to CDC data published on August 26, 2022, the vast majority of the 17,432 monkeypox cases in the USA have occurred in men who report having a sexual encounter with another man (MSM) in the three weeks before infection.
The CDC's new modeling of sexual infection transmission between men indicates that one-time partnerships, which account for 3% of daily sexual partnerships, account for approximately 50% of daily MPXV transmission.
Therefore, a 40% reduction in one-time partnerships might delay the spread of the MPXV and reduce the percentage of persons infected by 20% to 31%, says the CDC.
If decreasing one-time partnerships were combined with additional mitigation measures such as vaccination or a shorter time from symptom onset to testing and treatment, this effect would be higher and have a more significant impact on society.
'A decrease in one-time partnerships decreased the final percentage of MSM infected and increased the number of days needed to reach a given level of infection in the population, allowing more time for Jynneos® (IMVANEX®) vaccination efforts to reach susceptible persons.'
And a second CDC Report published yesterday highlights the importance of health communication in the context of strong community leadership in response to the ongoing monkeypox outbreak.
The adoption of prevention strategies reported aligns with specific harm reduction strategies developed for monkeypox and with broader sexual health information and recommendations for MSM.
The CDC says, 'It is important that federal, state, and local public health programs continue to deliver tailored harm reduction messages to diverse communities of MSM.'
And these messages should be designed to reduce the potential for stigma and build strength and resiliency.
Furthermore, this CDC analysis illustrates that the risk for MPXV acquisition varies widely among MSM according to the number of sexual partners a person has and the access to MPXV vaccines.
"What this means is that the LGBTQIA+ people are doing things that are actually reducing their risk, and it's working," commented Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, White House monkeypox response deputy coordinator, at a press briefing yesterday.
Additional information about accessing monkeypox or smallpox vaccines is posted at PrecisionVaccinations.com/Monkeypox.
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