MPX Is Back! Here's What Doctors Say You Need To Know Now
While it may have seemed as the LGBTQ+ community had MPX (formally known as Monkeypox) on the run — with cases dropping from thousands per week in the summer of 2022 to just 45 per week by January 2023, we may be celebrating a little too early.
Dr. Carlton Thomas and local health officials have confirmed the resurgence of MPX clusters in the double vaccinated with nearly all cases in the "men who have sex with men" population. However, those afflicted and recovered from MPX face a very low chance of reinfection with only 6 confirmed cases, according to the White House.
"I would estimate that one-half to two-thirds or a majority of cases we are seeing currently in Chicago and a few other spots giving us growing concern are among those that either received one or recommended two-shots regimen," says Dr. Carlton Thomas a re-known gastroenterologist from San Diego who led the charge to get thousands of gay men vaccinated last Summer. He also joined this author, who was afflicted with MPX last year, to demand the federal government make available an inventory of vaccines, an anti-viral medication known as T-Poxx, and the pain medication Gabapentin for the 7 out of 11 "silent" invisible symptoms yet equally painful to the open pox that many victims experienced inside the anus and on the genitals.
"We have to remember that the effectiveness of one shot is about 37% and of two shots is 69%. Let's face it, we men--especially gay men--heading into vacation and theme weeks, which are starting to happen now, can pressure test any vaccine effectiveness and these figures are far from 100%," Dr. Thomas continued.
So what advice does Dr. Carlton Thomas have for the primary group at risk of MPX being men who have sex with men? "Get vaccinated if you have not been vaccinated," he says. "The vaccine is now plentiful at local health departments, clinics, and healthcare providers. If you've been vaccinated, there is no guidance on a 'booster,' however, we are hearing early reports that despite the vaccine breakthrough cases, the current cases are much milder, with few if any hospitalizations reported and no need for the anti-virals."
If you are afflicted with MPX, realize that many of the symptoms are silent such as proctitis (inflammation) in the anus. You may not even know you are sick. Pox are often contained at the sites of sex and are very painful and difficult to heal including the mouth, genitals, and anus.
If afflicted whether vaccinated or not, immediately refrain from sex and isolate as much as possible from others and pets in the household. Do not share linens, towels, or clothing.
If unvaccinated seek medical attention, request T-Poxx anti-virals and Gabapentin for immediate and sizable pain relief. Of course, the best advice is to refrain from risky sex.
Regardless, protect yourself and protect others. Get vaccinated if you're not, both shots.