In early August, the U.S. government declared monkeypox a public health emergency amid growing case rates. As monkeypox cases continue to rise, Radiant Health Centers is committed to supporting the LGBTQ+ community with up-to-date information and reliable education. Together with our friends in the Orange County community, we’re here to share information about monkeypox, keeping you informed and helping you stay safe.
What You Need to Know About Monkeypox
Monkeypox is a rare infection caused by the monkeypox virus (part of the same family of viruses as smallpox). The disease has been discovered in more than 90 countries worldwide and is causing great concern. The latest data indicates 83 confirmed and probable cases in Orange County, with the Orange County Health Care Agency continuing to investigate and conduct contact tracing.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Monkeypox
Monkeypox symptoms usually begin around 5–21 days after infection. Initial symptoms could be a fever, low energy, an aching body, swollen lymph nodes and headaches. Over the next few days, patients develop a rash that turns into blisters that scab over and eventually heal. The rash may develop on the face, hands, feet, chest, genitals and anus, and usually clears up after a few weeks.
If you recognize these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider for help. The Orange County Health Care Agency is vaccinating those who meet the CDC guidelines, and who are 18 years or older. For an appointment, call (800) 564-8448 or visit www.othena.com. Learn more at www.ochealthinfo.com/monkeypox.
Preventive Steps to Fight Monkeypox Transmission
Prevention will play a key role in curbing the spread of monkeypox in Orange County. Here are the steps we can all take:
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Isolate yourself if you have monkeypox symptoms.
- Avoid close contact with people who have symptoms.
- Pay attention to sores or rashes on your body.
- Wear protective clothing when caring for those with monkeypox.
Monkeypox and the LGBTQ+ Community
Data suggests that men who have sex with men are currently the group with the highest infection rates. However, while close skin contact is a method of transmission, monkeypox is not regarded as a sexually transmitted disease.
Join Us to End the Stigma About Monkeypox
Sadly, misinformation about the disease is stopping some people from accessing medical care. In reality, anyone can get monkeypox, from sharing towels to caring for someone with the disease. By spreading awareness, we can help stop the stigma and ensure individuals get the appropriate medical care when needed.
Radiant Health Centers is the leading LGBTQ+ medical clinic in Irvine. Our expert team provides HIV testing and treatment, STD testing, family planning, counseling and telehealth services for people in Orange County. For general inquiries, call (949) 809-5700. You can also reach our medical clinic at (949) 809-8764 or request an appointment now.