Hope you 've all had a good summer and enjoyed celebrating through the Pride season.
As we approach autumn, we shouldn't forget that COVID is still looming. But our most pressing concern is the Monkeypox epidemic and the affect it's having on fetish events, festivals, and our community.
Many cities have been rolling out vaccination drives, prioritising gay and bisexual men and other at-risk people, but we know that supplies are short in some places, access isn't easy, and other cities have yet to start their own campaigns. By this, we encourage you to remain vigilant and cautious, and to try to stay informed.
Over the past months we've been working with the UK Health Security Agency, the NHS and other public health and sexual health organisations (In the UK and abroad) on how to keep everyone safer at events - especially with sex on premises events – and we've updated and implemented new cleaning and safety measures.
We've also been working on a safety campaign with PrePSter. We posted this information a few months ago, but I think it's important that we post it to the Home Feed where it's even more accessible on the platform.
Cases of monkeypox in the UK, and other parts of Europe, are continuing to increase. Before attending any events or festivals, please make sure you're up-to-date with info about monkeypox. If you have recently been diagnosed with monkeypox, or think you have suspected symptoms of monkeypox – please take a break from events and parties. Close physical contact – even if sex is not involved - can pass monkeypox on to people around you.
Most recent UK cases have been transmitted through close physical contact (skin-to-skin) – including during sex. Monkeypox can be transmitted in other ways including through shared bedding, and close respiratory contact. Close, sweaty, tops-off, skin-to-skin dancing and grinding can transmit the virus – it doesn't need fluids to be involved for it to be passed on.
Most people who are diagnosed with it feel unwell for a few weeks, but it can lead to hospitalisation, especially if monkeypox sores or lesions get infected. It can also cause scaring, and the sores or lesions can be very painful.
Make sure you know the symptoms of monkeypox. They include new rashes, sores, blisters and spots - including around the genitals. Some people also get fever, headaches, swollen and painful glands, muscles aches, or exhaustion.
If you have symptoms of monkeypox phone your local hospital or your usual sexual health clinic (do not visit your clinic without calling them first) and take a break from close physical contact – including sex – until you've sought medical advice and know you are well.
If you develop symptoms and it's possible – and safe – to do so, let your recent close physical contacts know, so they can be on the lookout for symptoms too. In some cases, they might be offered post-exposure vaccination.
If someone you've been in close contact with tells you they've got monkeypox symptoms, seek advice (as above). No-one likes to find out they have a new infection. The way we respond when we're told – from a hook up or friend – will determine how someone tells others in the future. Gossip, rumour, and nasty responses help none of us. Let's keep it supportive!
The best way to ensure that we are all doing our part to keep the community safe is to stay informed. It's also a good plan to regularly test for STIs.
*** Check your local hospital or sexual health organisation websites for updated information in the city where you live. Below are a few links where we hope you can find more helpful information on Monkeypox and on keeping safer.