Summer is a time for fun, relaxation, and spending time with friends, new and old. This summer, however, please take special care to protect your health and the health of your friends and sex partners. In addition to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), there are emerging data that suggest gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of new monkeypox and meningococcal disease cases. As you celebrate Pride and attend other celebrations in Provincetown, here are a few tips to keep you healthy:
Monkeypox (CLICK HERE FOR UPDATES ON THE OUTBREAK)
You may have heard of a rare disease called monkeypox. Many people affected in the current global outbreaks identify as gay or bisexual. Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact. If you have a new or unexplained rash or sores, see a healthcare provider and avoid sex or close, intimate contact until you have been checked out. To learn more and get information on vaccination availability, click here.
HIV & STIs
HIV and other STIs are always something sexually-active gay and bi men need to be aware of. In fact, new syphilis diagnoses are on the rise, and chlamydia and gonorrhea remain common in our community. Remember, most STIs have no signs or symptoms. For example, syphilis typically appears as a painless chancre, on average three weeks after exposure. The only way to know your HIV or STI status is to get tested. In Provincetown, please visit the ASGCC Drop-in Center at 148a Commercial Street for free, confidential HIV/STI testing and PrEP access services. For more information, click here or call 508.487.8311.
There is an outbreak of meningococcal disease, primarily among gay and bi men in Florida. This can show up as fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea/vomiting, or dark purple rash, among other symptoms. Right now, the outbreak is in Florida. If you live or travel there, be aware of the symptoms and see a healthcare provider right away if you feel sick. If you live in Florida, get vaccinated. If you’re traveling to Florida, talk to your healthcare provider about getting vaccinated as well. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/meningococcal
COVID-19 cases are still high in some places. Get vaccinated and stay up to date on your vaccines. Wear a well-fitting mask any time you’d like to, but especially if you are in an area with high community levels of COVID-19, if you are in a crowded indoor area, or if you want to protect someone who is at high risk for getting very sick. Learn more: How to Protect Yourself & Others (CDC)
Source: Adapted from CDC Summer 2022 Health Tips for Gay and Bi Men