A virus called Monkeypox has been making the news recently as several outbreaks are occurring across the world in countries not usually associated with the infection.  Largely restricted to the continent of Africa in the past, cases have suddenly been reported across the globe from Australia to the United States and significantly in several major European countries including Spain, Portugal and the UK.

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The countries outside of Africa that have been reporting cases are known as ‘non-endemic’ countries, meaning the virus is rare to previously non-existent in those areas.  Reported cases so far have no established links to an endemic area, though testing continues to try to find a source. 

Not all the cases around the world appear to be linked at this stage, however some of those people diagnosed have been in men who have sex with men (MSM), or men who identify as gay or bisexual.  This information suggests the virus in some cases is potentially being spread by sexual activity and highlights how easily infections can be transmitted through sexual contact and the importance of maintaining a regular sexual health testing regime.

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a viral infection.  It is most commonly found in animals from rural central and west Africa and transmitted to humans by touching spots, blisters, scabs, body fluids or blood of the animal.

How is Monkeypox transmitted?

Monkeypox can be transmitted between humans through close skin to skin contact or respiratory droplets, requiring prolonged face to face contact.  It is important to stress that although monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI), it can be transmitted through close sexual contact. 

What are the symptoms of Monkey Pox?

What are the symptoms of Monkey Pox?

The rash produced by monkeypox can often resemble that found when infected with syphilis or herpes, so it is important to also have an STI test to rule these out.  Some of the other symptoms of monkey pox are also similar to those of both syphilis and genital herpes, including muscle aches and fever.

Although monkey pox is generally a mild infection, it can be more of a concern among people with weakened immune systems or those who are pregnant.

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With a rapidly rising incidence of Monkeypox cases across the UK, with over 2400 cases now identified, if you do find a rash on your body, particularly around your genitals, then you should take immediate action to rule out other infections such a Syphilis or Herpes and book a consultation with a Sexual Health specialist. 

This is especially true if you are sexually active and highlights the importance of maintaining a regular testing regime to know what your sexual health status is.

Better2Know is the world’s leading private sexual health testing company, offering individual tests for many STIs including Syphilis and Herpes.  We also have a range of comprehensive STI Screens which are created by medical experts, such as our Peace of Mind Screen which tests for Syphilis along with Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea. 

You can book online using the ‘book now’ button or call us using the number at the top of this page, to order a convenient discreet home test kit.


[1] WHO.int: Monkeypox outbreak in non-endemic countries

[2] Theguardian.com: What is monkeypox and should you be worried?

[3] NHS.uk: Monkeypox

[4] Hstoday.us: Monkeypox may look like an STI

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