Monkeypox Information for LGBTQ Iowans
What is Monkeypox? How does it spread?
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus.
Monkeypox can spread from person to person through direct contact with infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids. It also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex.
Who is at risk?
Monkeypox can impact ALL individuals regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or creed.
How can I prevent Monkeypox?
Get vaccinated at a local clinic (see below). Wiping down surfaces with a disinfectant and regular washing of hands. Wearing a mask can help prevent infectious respiratory droplets from entering your body. Social distancing can prevent coming into contact with an individual who has monkeypox.
What do I do if I think I may have monkeypox?
If you believe you’ve been exposed to or have monkeypox, call your medical provider or reach out to the nearest county health department in your area. Be sure to isolate yourself until your symptoms have resolved.
How can a person lower their risk during sex?
Even if you feel well, here are some ways to reduce your chances of being exposed to monkeypox if you are sexually active:
- Take a temporary break from activities that increase exposure to monkeypox until you are two weeks after your second dose. This will greatly reduce your risk.
- Limit your number of sex partners to reduce your likelihood of exposure.
- Spaces like back rooms, saunas, sex clubs, or private and public sex parties, where intimate, often anonymous sexual contact with multiple partners occurs—are more likely to spread monkeypox.
- Condoms (latex or polyurethane) may protect your anus (butthole), mouth, penis, or vagina from exposure to monkeypox. However, condoms alone may not prevent all exposures to monkeypox since the rash can occur on other parts of the body.
- Gloves (latex, polyurethane, or nitrile) might also reduce the possibility of exposure if inserting fingers or hands into the vagina or the anus. The gloves must cover all exposed skin and be removed carefully to avoid touching the outer surface.
- Avoid kissing or exchanging spit since monkeypox can spread this way.
- Masturbate together at a distance without touching each other and without touching any rash.
- Have virtual sex with no in-person contact.
- Consider having sex with your clothes on or covering areas where rash is present, reducing as much skin-to-skin contact as possible. Leather or latex gear also provides a barrier to skin-to-skin contact; just be sure to change or clean clothes/gear between partners and after use.
- Be aware that monkeypox can also spread through respiratory secretions with close, face-to-face contact.
- Remember to wash your hands, fetish gear, sex toys, and any fabrics (bedding, towels, clothes) after having sex. Learn more about infection control.
What should a person do if they have a new or unexplained rash or other symptoms?
- Avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until a healthcare provider has checked you out.
- If you don’t have a provider or health insurance, visit a public health clinic near you.
- When you see a healthcare provider, wear a mask, and remind them that this virus is circulating in the area.
- Avoid gatherings, especially if they involve close, personal, skin-to-skin contact.
Think about the people you have had close, personal, or sexual contact during the last 21 days, including people you met through dating apps. To help stop the spread, you might be asked to share this information if you have received a monkeypox diagnosis.
How can a person lower the chance of getting monkeypox at places like raves, parties, clubs, and festivals?
When thinking about what to do, seek out information from trusted sources like the local health department. Second, consider how much close, personal, skin-to-skin contact is likely to occur at the event you plan to attend. If you feel sick or have a rash, do not attend any gathering, and see a healthcare provider.
- Festivals, events, and concerts where attendees are fully clothed and unlikely to share skin-to-skin contact are safer. However, attendees should be mindful of activities (like kissing) that might spread monkeypox.
- A rave, party, or club where there is minimal clothing and where there is direct, personal, often skin-to-skin contact has some risk. Avoid any rash you see on others and consider minimizing skin-to-skin contact.
- Enclosed spaces, such as back rooms, saunas, sex clubs, or private and public sex parties where intimate, often anonymous sexual contact with multiple partners occurs, may have a higher likelihood of spreading monkeypox.
Monkeypox Vaccines in Iowa
Last updated 8/11/22
Vaccination is an important tool in preventing the spread of monkeypox. You will start to build protection in the days and weeks after your first dose, but the vaccine will provide its best protection two weeks after your second dose. Find a vaccine clinic and get vaccinated against monkeypox now.
Gay, bisexual, other men who have sex with men (MSM), or transgender people who are at least 18 years of age, have an increased likelihood of exposure, are included in one of the following categories, and are eligible for the vaccine. Please consult local health officials for the most updated vaccine requirements and eligibility information.
- New or multiple sex partners within the last 30 days.
- Close contact with others at a venue or event in the last 30 days where a suspected, probable, or confirmed case of monkeypox was identified close contact with someone suspected, probable, or confirmed as having monkeypox.
Local Health Departments Offering Vaccines in Iowa
This is a non-comprehensive list of local health departments offering vaccine clinics. Availability is subject to changes in their supply. Please consult with them directly for more information.
Linn County Health Department
Schedule appointments at: www.linncountyiowa.gov/1695/Monkeypox
Individuals without computer access may call 319-892-6095 for assistance
Polk County Health Department
Schedule appointments at: www.immunizepolk.com
Questions: PCHD Call Center 515-323-5221
The health department only creates appointments if there is enough vaccine available;
if there are no appointments available, Jynneos vaccine is no longer available
Primary Health Care Outreach- University
Schedule appointments at 515-248-1500 and through The Project at 515-248-1595
1200 University Ave
Des Moines, IA 50314
Scott County Health Department
Schedule Appointments and determine eligibility at 563-326-8618
Callers should identify they are calling with questions regarding monkeypox
Eligible vaccine recipients will be offered same-day access
Monday and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:15 am – 4:00 pm
Appointments are REQUIRED
Siouxland District Health Department
Schedule appointments at: www.siouxlanddistricthealth.org/disease-