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There are a range of bugs and viruses that you can catch during sex. Learn about Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), how to prevent them, how to diagnose them and how they are treated.


What is it?

MPOX is a viral infection caused by the Monkeypox virus, which can make you feel unwell and develop rashes or lesions on your genitals, face, hands and body.

How do you get it?

You can only get MPOX from contact with someone who has MPOX — through close skin-to-skin contact or by sharing clothes, bed sheets or towels.

Although MPOX is not currently considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI), sex with someone who has the virus carries a high risk of transmission.

Bodily fluids (such as fluid, pus or blood from skin lesions) and scabs are infectious. Lesions and sores in the mouth can also be infectious, meaning the virus can spread through saliva.

What are the symptoms?

Some people don’t notice symptoms when they get MPOX, which means you can have MPOX and not know about it. While symptoms can sometimes appear one to two days after exposure and up to 28 days after exposure, most symptoms appear seven to 14 days after exposure.

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever, headache, muscle aches, low energy and swollen lymph nodes
  • Skin rash, lesions or pimples, which can appear on the face, hands, arms, legs, torso as well as the mouth and around the genitals

Some people report only one or two lesions or pimples. Other more severe cases involve many lesions or pimples.

Less common symptoms include:

  • Proctitis — rectal pain (in your arse), bloody shit, or diarrhoea
  • Urethritis — pain while pissing or during sex, itchiness at the opening of your cock (urethra), or discharge from your cock
Diagnosis and treatment

A doctor diagnoses MPOX by taking a swab of the lesions or pimples for laboratory testing. There are limited places that can test for MPOX. You can find where to get tested here. IT’s best to contact the clinic before attending to let them know your symptoms as someone who might have MPOX.

MPOX will usually clear by itself. There is no direct treatment to cure MPOX Treatment typically involves managing your symptoms at home while isolating yourself from other people and animals.

How do you prevent it?

The most effective way to prevent MPOX is to be vaccinated against it. Vaccination involves two injections given at least 28 days apart. Find a vaccination clinic near you.

You can also help prevent MPOX by limiting sexual partners, reducing skin-to-skin contact, not sharing towels or bed linen, and not swapping saliva. Condoms can also help prevent anal transmission of MPOX.

MPOX is not routinely tested for, but going for regular sexual health tests and talking with your doctor can help identify MPOX before it becomes a problem and helps prevent it from spreading