MPX is a viral infection caused by the monkeypox virus (MPXV). Monkeypox symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks.
Monkeypox is transmitted through close physical contact with someone who has the virus - in particular through sexual or intimate contact.
While Monkeypox is not classified as a sexually transmitted infection (STI), sexual contact with someone who has the virus poses a high risk of transmission.
Bodily fluids (such as fluid, pus or blood from skin lesions) and scabs are particularly infectious. Ulcers, lesions or sores in the mouth can also be infectious, meaning the virus can spread through saliva.
Symptoms can include fever, headache, muscle aches, low energy, and swollen lymph nodes (similar to the flu) before progressing to a skin rash or lesions. The rash usually begins within one to three days of the start of a fever. The rash or lesions can also be found on the face, arms, and legs as well as in the mouth and around the genitals/anus.
Because MPX rashes can resemble some STIs, it is important to contact your GP or local sexual health clinic and let them know about your symptoms when you make an appointment.
The incubation period (the time from infection to the onset of symptoms) of Monkeypox is usually 7-14 days, but it can be as short as 1-2 days or as long as 21 days.
While symptoms are typically mild, for some people with moderate to serious cases Monkeypox can be quite painful.
A doctor can test for Monkeypox with a swab of the effected area of the skin.
Most people with MPX have a mild illness and recover within a few weeks without specific treatment.
There are some treatment available for Monkeypox, particularly for people at high-risk such as those who have weakened immune systems.
MPX can be prevented by avoiding contact with people with suspected or confirmed MPX. This includes contact with any potentially contaminated materials, such as bedding and towels, that have been in contact with an infected person.
MPX can also be prevented by limiting your number of sexual partners and ensuring that you have their contact details, until you are fully vaccinated. Vaccination will also protect people from MPX.
People who are at highest risk should be aware of the symptoms of MPX and self-monitor for symptoms.
Staying vigilant with hygiene measures including washing hands with soap and water or alcohol-based sanitiser is important.
There is very limited evidence on Monkeypox in people living with HIV. Most is based on research in countries where access to treatment is low, and people experience far negative health outcomes than in Australia.
People living with HIV should follow the same advice as the general population.