Last updated: Aug. 8, 2022
Anchor Health is working to help address the ongoing monkeypox outbreak through patient education, testing, treatment, and vaccination. Monkeypox is an evolving situation. Please check back frequently as we update this page with the latest information.
Explore our FAQ below to learn about monkeypox, its symptoms, how it is (and isn’t) spread, and more. Don’t have time to read? Watch 5 Things Sexually Active People Need to Know About Monkeypox from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
If you are an Anchor Health patient and are experiencing monkeypox symptoms as described below, please call 203-903-8308. Please do not come into our health centers before getting guidance over the phone. If you are not a patient, please contact your closest local health department.
Anchor Health has been selected as one of 13 sites in Connecticut to administer the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine. Due to extremely limited supply, vaccination is prioritized for individuals at the highest risk of exposure to someone with monkeypox.
To be considered eligible for the vaccine, individuals must live in Connecticut and show proof of residence, e.g., a valid photo ID or piece of mail addressed to you.
Individuals who meet the following criteria are eligible for the monkeypox vaccine:
- Have had a confirmed monkeypox exposure, or
- Gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, and/or trans, gender nonconforming, nonbinary, who are ages 18 or older, and have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 2 weeks.
If eligible, individuals should especially consider getting vaccinated if they:
- Have had recent intimate contact with a partner who is showing symptoms of monkeypox, such as a rash or sores; or
- Had recent intimate contact with a partner met through an online application or social media platform (such as Grindr, Tinder, or Scruff), or at clubs, raves, sex parties, saunas or other large gatherings; or
- Have a condition that may increase their risk for severe disease (HIV or another condition that weakens your immune system, history of atopic dermatitis or eczema).
More information about considerations for the monkeypox vaccine is available through the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s monkeypox webpage.
Monkeypox is a virus related to smallpox but is significantly less likely to cause life-threatening illness. Monkeypox can affect anyone regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation, but recent clusters have occurred in—mostly—cisgender men who have sex with men.
As reported by the CDC, there are several ways for monkeypox to spread.
“Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:
- Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox.
- Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
- Contact with respiratory secretions.
This direct contact can happen during intimate contact, including:
- Oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole) of a person with monkeypox.
- Hugging, massage, and kissing.
- Prolonged face-to-face contact.
- Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with monkeypox and that have not been disinfected, such as bedding, towels, fetish gear, and sex toys.
- A pregnant person can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.”
While most cases have occurred in cis men who have sex with men (MSM) who have had intimate contact with other MSM, anyone who is in close contact with a person who has monkeypox can get it.
Monkeypox presents as a rash that may look like a pimple, an ulcer or a firm bump. It may be associated with other symptoms like fever, fatigue, headache, swollen glands (lymph nodes) and anal/rectal pain. Many people have had mild, self-limited illnesses, but others have had severe pain, particularly rectal or oral pain, and rarely other complications.
Monkeypox is treated with fever-reducing medicines and creams to help with the pain. Antivirals, such as tecovirimat (Tpoxx), may be recommended for people who are at high risk for complications.
Some ways to protect yourself include:
- Using safer sex options (see link below)
- Checking with partners about whether they have a rash or any other early monkeypox symptoms, such as fevers, swollen glands, or body aches
- Avoiding large gatherings such as clubs, raves, sex parties, and saunas where you may have close, skin-to-skin contact with others
Find out more ways to reduce your risk of monkeypox exposure from the CDC’s Safer Sex, Social Gatherings, and Monkeypox webpage.
Most importantly, do not have sex and avoid close contact with others (including hugging, kissing, or sharing drinks). You should contact your medical provider right away. If you do not have a medical care provider, please contact your closest local health department.