Nearly 20% of gay men who are contracting monkeypox in the U.S. reported having 10 or more partners in the three weeks before symptom onset, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report.
Virtually all monkeypox cases in the U.S. which have data available, 99%, are in men, the report also found, and 94% are in men who have sex with other men. The overwhelming majority had multiple sexual partners in the weeks leading up to their symptoms.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) August 5, 2022
In addition to the 19% of men who said they had 10 or more partners over the three weeks preceding symptoms, 40% reported having two to four partners and 14% reported five to nine partners. 38% reported having group sex at a festival, group sex event or sex party.
The data was pulled from a sample of 358 men who contracted monkeypox for which data was available on recent sexual behaviors. That represents about 12% of all confirmed monkeypox cases in the U.S. between May 17 and July 22, the time period which the report covers. Age and gender identity data was available for 41% of all cases nationwide.
Of the 334 cases for which HIV status was known, 41% of patients were HIV-positive. Only 8% of patients were hospitalized, and there were no reported deaths. There remain zero confirmed deaths caused by monkeypox in the United States or Europe in 2022.
The Biden administration declared a public health emergency due to monkeypox last week, after the World Health Organization had already done so in July. Critics have accused the administration of not acting fast enough to respond to the outbreak, particularly as it regards vaccine procurement and distribution. (RELATED: Area Man Shocked To Have Contracted Monkeypox After 20-Man Birthday Orgy)
Data from the CDC, as well as the WHO and European health authorities, have increasingly shown that the virus is almost exclusively spreading within the homosexual male community, with some outlier cases within other demographics. Still, health authorities are engaged in intense debate over how to target messaging on the risks associated with monkeypox due to fears of directing stigma toward gay and bisexual men.
In its latest report, released Friday, the CDC admits “public health efforts should prioritize gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men.” However, the agency still does not recommend that gay and bisexual men have fewer sexual partners in its guidance on safe sex during the monkeypox outbreak. The WHO made that recommendation last month.