Leeds Pride 2022: Advice on monkeypox issued by council ahead of celebrations

Advice on monkeypox has been issued by Leeds City Council ahead of the Leeds Pride celebrations this weekend.

Cases of the viral disease continue to rise nationally and the majority of cases in the United Kingdom continue to be among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men.

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Leeds City Council have issued advice ahead of the celebrations. Image: Steve Riding

Leeds Pride is an annual LGBT+ celebration and the council have provided information for attendees to be mindful of ahead of the Sunday celebrations.

Victoria Eaton, director of public health for Leeds, said: "If you think you may have symptoms of monkeypox, even if they are mild, please stay at home and contact NHS 111 or your local sexual health service for advice, your call will be treated sensitively and confidentially.

“Avoid close personal or sexual contact with others until you have had a clinical assessment.”

The viral disease can be passed on from person to person through close physical contact with monkeypox blisters or scabs, including during sexual contact, kissing, cuddling or holding hands.

Coughs or sneezes of a person with monkeypox can pass it on, as can touching the clothing, bedding or towels used by someone who has it.

The council have reminded people to check for symptoms such as rashes and blisters before attending events.

If people have symptoms, they should take a break from attending events and close contact until an assessment has been made by a clinician.

Symptoms include a high temperature, swollen glands and exhaustion.

Tom Doyle, CEO of Yorkshire MESMAC, said: "Anyone with monkeypox can pass it on through close contact, regardless of sexual orientation, but currently gay and bisexual men are disproportionately affected.

“Particularly in Leeds, we’re working really closely together with our NHS partners to identify people who are most at risk of monkeypox so they can be invited in for a vaccination.”

The UKHSA have stated that some gay and bisexual men at higher risk of exposure should be offered the smallpox vaccine Imvanex and sexual health services are currently contacting people who are at the highest risk.

People with a history of sexually transmitted infections, those known to have had multiple sexual partners and those eligible for PREP [preventative drug for HIV transmission] may be eligible.