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Monkeypox being spread through sex, not brief skin-to-skin contact: experts

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Amid fears monkeypox would spread at an increased rate at the end of summer as gay men gather in close quarters for dance parties and other celebrations, health experts are starting to emphasize that the current outbreak isn’t spreading through minimal skin-to-skin contact, such as brushing up against a fellow shirtless dance partner, but rather through sexual activity and overwhelmingly among men who have sex with men.

With reported cases of monkeypox in the United States this week reaching 15,505, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control, a number of health experts who spoke to the Blade talked about outright declaring monkeypox a sexually transmitted disease as part of this messaging — although they acknowledge such a label would have pros and cons.

Juan Carlos Loubriel, senior director of community health at the D.C.-based Whitman-Walker Health, was among the health experts making the distinction between the negligible risks of transmitting monkeypox through brief skin-to-skin contact as opposed to sexual activity. “I’ll say that we need to provide the real facts to our community that indicates right now that the majority of the cases are sexually transmitted, right?” Loubriel said. “So transmission is not occurring by casual touch, right?

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