Are Claims That Monkeypox Is an STI True?

By Tracy Bonareri

This tweet claims that Monkeypox is a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI).

Similar Tweets claiming that Monkeypox is an STI have recently been circulating online, causing an uproar over their legitimacy.


Contrary to what people believe Monkeypox is not a new disease and has been around for 40 years according to  Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove of the World Health Organization (WHO). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, the first cases were recorded in monkeys used for research in 1958, hence the name Monkeypox. The first human case was however recorded in 1970 in the DRC when efforts were made to eliminate Smallpox. Research by the CDC further explains that Monkeypox symptoms are similar to those of Smallpox, only milder.

According to the CDC, Monkeypox has a mortality rate of 1 among 10 infected people in Africa.

The incubation period for Monkeypox ranges from five to 21 days. The signs and symptoms include fever, headache, muscle ache, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion- CDC.

Endemic areas in Africa as identified by the WHO include Cameroon, Nigeria, DRC and The Central African Republic. Non-endemic areas like Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, The UK and The US have also recorded cases in the recent surge.

Claims that it could be a sexually transmitted disease came in the wake of a report by the WHO explaining that they had received reports from six laboratories in the UK by May 15, 2022 recording cases of people presenting vesicular rash illness. All these were from men who have sex with men attending Sexual Health Services.


During a round table discussion, WHO experts Dr. Andy Seale, Dr. Rosamund Lewis and Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove debunked myths surrounding Monkeypox.

They clarified that Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are spread through semen and vaginal fluids and this is not the case for Monkeypox. They explain that Monkeypox is transmitted when a person comes into contact with respiratory secretions, skin lesions of an infected person or an infected object.

Dr.Andy Seale, WHO’s advisor on HIV, Hepatitis and other sexually transmitted diseases added;

“This is not a gay disease as some people on social media have attempted to label it. Anyone can contract Monkeypox through close contact. It can be spread through sexual contact but is not a sexually transmitted disease, you can get a cough through sexual contact but that doesn’t make it a sexually transmitted disease.”

The CDC also adds that human-to-human contact requires prolonged face-to-face interaction since respiratory droplets cannot travel more than a few feet.


Claims that Monkeypox is an STI are FALSE.

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