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Mpox (monkey pox) Information for our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Sistergirl and Brotherboy communities 

Mpox (also known as monkey pox) is a rare viral infection that does not spread easily between people.

Mpox isn’t an STI, but it can be transmitted when you are hooking up, so it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms if you are attending dance parties, sex parties, saunas or find yourself in other fun places.

There continue to be local mpox cases notified in Queensland. We are alerted by Queensland Health when a case is notified so that we can provide updates to our communities.  

 

Recent Queensland mpox cases

Mpox cases: In May 2024, there have been new multiple mpox (monkey pox) cases detected in Southeast Queensland.

Get your vaccine, reduce sexual partners, don’t share sex toys, and check for symptoms. Vaccines are safe, effective and available free of charge.

 

 Click here for mpox vaccination locations. 

 Click here for more resources, including videos and tips. 

FAQ: Frequently asked questions about mpox

What is mpox?

Mpox is a rare viral infection that does not spread easily between people and used to be usually associated with travel to Central or West Africa, where it is endemic. 

Since May 2022, there has been a global increase in mpox infections in multiple countries where the illness is not usually seen. 

Mpox was first reported in Australia in May 2022.

By late November 2022, the Australian Government declared that mpox no longer needed a nationally coordinated and dedicated response which is testament to the good health seeking behaviour of our communities, and the public health infrastructure we have in place so that cases are detected and treated.

 

We now only periodically see local mpox cases in Queensland.

 

What are the symptoms of mpox?

The incubation period (the time from infection to the onset of symptoms) of mpox is usually 1-2 weeks days but can be up to 21 days.

Symptoms include a fever, headache, muscle aches, low energy, swollen lymph nodes and a skin rash or lesions (these are similar to COVID or the flu).

The rash usually begins within one to three days of the start of a fever and tends to be more concentrated on the face, arms and legs. It can also be found on the mouth, genitals and eyes.

 The rash can be found around/inside the rectal area, and is often associated with intense pain.

How is mpox transmitted?

Mpox is transmitted through close physical contact with someone who has symptoms.

The rash, 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.

Clothing, linens or objects that have come into contact with a person who has mpox can also infect others.

Mpox has not been previously described as a sexually transmitted infection but it can spread in sexual networks through direct contact during sex or clothing and bedding used by someone with mpox.

Mpox vaccination

Vaccines are free for gay, bisexual men and any men who have sex with me (cis and trans), their sexual partners and sex workers.

Getting an mpox vaccine can help prevent mpox infection. 

Mpox vaccines are safe and effective.

Two doses of vaccine at least 28 days apart, has been shown to give 80% + protection against mpox.

Mpox vaccines are free for all. No Medicare card is required (some clinics have no consultation fee).

Concerned about your privacy? Individuals can request that their mpox vaccine dose is not recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). Let your vaccine provider know.

Prevention

Get protection from mpox with two free vaccines 

Reduce sexual partners & keep a small number of f*ck buddies

Don’t share sex toys 

Routinely check for symptoms (you and your partners).


Please click here for mpox vaccination locations. 

 

How is mpox treated?

Most people with mpox have a mild self-limiting illness and recover within a few weeks without specific treatment.

There are some therapies available for the treatment of mpox, particularly for people at high-risk such as those who are immunosuppressed.

Because mpox is closely related to the virus that causes smallpox, the smallpox vaccine can protect people from getting mpox. Vaccines may be indicated in persons at greatest risk of getting mpox.

 

Am I at greater risk if I’m HIV-positive?

There is very limited evidence on mpox in people living with HIV, and most is based on research in countries where access to treatment is low, and experience far negative health outcomes than in Australia.

At the moment, people living with HIV should follow the same advice as the general population.

Should evidence emerge that people with suppressed immune systems are at greater risk of mpox, or ill-health from catching the virus, then updated information and advice will be made available.

Why are cases of mpox being detected among gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men?

A large number of cases detected overseas are among gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men (cis & trans). One reason for this is the active health seeking behaviour of gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men around sexual health. Because mpox rashes can resemble some STIs, such as herpes or syphilis, cases are being detected in sexual health clinics around the world.

It’s important to note that the risk of mpox is not limited to gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men (cis & trans). Anyone who has close contact with someone who is infectious is at risk.

Anyone can get or pass on MPOX regardless of their sexuality.

If you have recently returned from overseas.

People who have recently returned from overseas and who develop any of these symptoms, particularly an unusual rash, should seek medical advice immediately.

Call your GP or local sexual health clinic by phone or telehealth.

You can also call 13 Health (13 43 25 84).

Remember: do not attend a health service in the first instance – be sure to call first.

 

If you are planning to travel overseas

If you plan to travel overseas, staying informed and aware of developments is important. The situation with mpox is changing rapidly.

Follow public health alerts and advice from local health authorities of the countries you are visiting.

If visiting festivals or large events, stay abreast of event updates (before and after) from organisers.

You can reduce your risk of contracting mpox by:

Avoiding contact, including sexual contact, with people who are unwell or have compatible symptoms

Avoid skin-to-skin contact, particularly with any rash or lesions

Avoid contact with clothing, bedding or objects that have been in contact with or used by people with mpox

As always, practice good hygiene, self-isolate if unwell and seek medical attention if you develop any symptoms

We continue to monitor developments and will update our communities as the situation evolves.

Are mpox vaccinations available in Queensland?

MPOX vaccination is available in Queensland, please click here for mpox vaccination locations. 

Where can I get more information?

Here are some sources of information:

https://www.aconhealth.org.au/monkeypox

https://www.who.int/health-topics/monkeypox 

http://conditions.health.qld.gov.au/HealthCondition/condition/14/217/850/monkeypox

https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/monkeypox-mpx

https://emen8.com.au/health/sexual-health/national-campaign-to-raise-awareness-of-monkeypox/

This has been put together by our team at the Queensland Council for LGBTI Health, informed in this evolving space by our health professional allies and Queensland Health.

To get in touch with us, please email info@qc.org.au or call (07) 3017 1777

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