Health Advocacy

hMPXV (Monkeypox) Health Guide for Seattle

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About hMPXV (monkeypox)

The World Health Organization has declared hMPXV (Monkeypox) a World Health Emergency. King County and surrounding communities should know that:
hMPXV is a rare disease that can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin- to-skin contact.

How hMPXV spreads:

  • Direct contact with hMPXV rash, sores, or scabs from a person with hMPXV is the primary mode of hMPXV transmission in the United States.
  • hMPXV can be transmitted during sex through skin-to-skin and another intimate sexual contact.
  • Contact with objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with hMPXV.
  • Through respiratory droplets or oral fluids (saliva) through kissing and another face-to-face contact.
    Activity risk rating for monkeypox transmission. Most risky: direct contact with a rash, scab, or body fluid, sexual or intimate contact (note that condoms don’t prevent monkeypox transmission). More Risky: kissing somebody with oral lesions, attending crowded parties inside with non-fully clothed. Possible: sharing drinks, sharing a bed, towels or toiletry items, dancing at a crowded party inside with fully clothed people. Unlikely: dancing at a party outside with mostly or fully clothed people, Coworker to coworker transmission, trying on clothing at a store, touching a doorknob, traveling in an airport or on a plane, in a swimming pool, hot tub, or body of water, in public restrooms or on public transit, at a grocery store or coffee shop or a gym (via equipment).

    How to protect yourself:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
    • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like hMPXV.
    • Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with hMPXV has used, such as eating utensils, cups, bedding, towels, toys, or clothing.
    • Use condoms. Wearing a condom won’t fully protect you from catching monkeypox, but it may reduce your risk or extent of exposure and it will help protect you and others from a range of other STIs. People with monkeypox are advised to use condoms for 12 weeks after they recover until more is known about levels of the virus and potential infectivity in semen during the period that follows recovery. 
    • Get vaccinated if eligible (see vaccine information below, including eligibility).

    Stay home and contact your healthcare provider if you:

    • Feel sick
    • Have a fever, chills, or swollen lymph nodes,
    • Have a new or unexplained rash, which may look like pimples, blisters, or sores

    Where to Get Vaccinated in King County

    For a more complete list of hMPXV vaccination clinics, please check here.

    Public Health Sexual Health Clinic at Harborview

    Address: 908 Jefferson St, 11th floor, Seattle, WA 98104
    Vaccination hours: 8am – 3pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and 9:30am – 3pm on Tuesday

    For more information on getting vaccinated against hMPXV (monkeypox) at the Sexual Health Clinic, please call the Public Health Information Call Center at 206-477-3977 or visit their website.

    Initial Criteria for Vaccination:

      Vaccination supply is currently prioritized for:

      • People who have had sexual, close intimate contact or other high risk close contact with someone who has tested positive for monkeypox.
      • Gay, bisexual, or other men or transgender people who have sex with men AND at least one of the following:
        • Multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 3 months
        • Have had syphilis or gonorrhea in the prior year
        • Have used methamphetamine in the last 3 months
        • Attended a bathhouse, public sex venue, or group sex (sex including at least 3 people at the same time) in the last 3 months
        • Experiencing homelessness/unstable housing (including living in a shelter, car, group/congregate setting; living with friends or relatives; couch surfing) in the last 3 months
        • Being incarcerated currently or in the last 3 months
        • Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders, Asian, Indigenous, or American Indian/Alaska Native.
      • Sex workers of any sexual orientation or gender identity.

      Health officials do not currently recommend vaccination for members of the general public who are not at high risk of recent exposure to monkeypox.

      The eligibility criteria may evolve with changes in the outbreak and vaccine supply.

      Resources and More Info

      About hMPXV Infection and HIV

      People with advanced HIV infection or who are not taking antiretroviral drugs might be at increased risk for severe disease if they get monkeypox. Monkeypox can be treated with the antiviral drug tecovirimat (TPOXX). No identified drug interactions would prevent someone with HIV from taking tecovirimat with antiretroviral drugs. Pre and post-exposure prophylaxis can be considered with the JYNNEOS vaccine. Although there are little data about monkeypox in patients with HIV, prompt diagnosis, prevention, and treatment might help prevent adverse outcomes and limit the spread of monkeypox. See the Interim Guidance for Prevention and Treatment of Monkeypox in persons with HIV Infection on the CDC’s website for more information.