CDC Updates Monkeypox Prevention Guidance. Is it too late?


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have updated their monkeypox guidance to align with the World Health Organization (WHO).  They finally recommend that MSM alter their sexual behavior. The MMWR article, posted on Friday, August 5, 2022, included this statement (near end of article, bold added):

"Primary prevention of monkeypox includes isolating persons with infection from other persons and their pets, avoiding close contact and sexual activity (including oral, anal, and vaginal sex or sharing of sex toys) with persons with infection, and postexposure vaccination."

Article link:,with%20infection%2C%20and%20postexposure%20vaccination

A Biden Administration spokesperson said:

"The administration recommends that gay, bisexual, and other men and men who have sex with men and their networks implement risk mitigation strategies such as reducing the number of sexual partners, including new or anonymous ones, following updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance issued Friday. The new recommendation follows similar advice from the World Health Organization."

The WHO previously amended their recommendations on July 27th, as reported by CNBC:

"The World Health Organization on Wednesday recommended that gay and bisexual men limit their number of sexual partners to protect themselves from monkeypox and help slow transmission of the rapidly spreading virus."

Article link:

The CDC still doesn't recognize in their recommendations the real possibility of pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic transmission, advising only ill persons to take these precautions. Neither do they admit that they do not know how well the vaccine will protect against sexually transmission of monkeypox, but speculated in the above Advocate article that diluting vaccine five-fold might be a possibility. 

What took so long for these recommendations to change? The evidence supporting them has been available for two months. Politics determining public health policy. Optics over data.

Of note, this unsubstantiated recommendation is still on the DOHMH website, but does not appear in either CDC's or WHO's guidance: 

  • If you choose to have sex or other intimate contact while sick, cover all rashes and sores with clothing or sealed bandages. This may reduce spread from contact with the rash or sores, but other methods of transmission may still be possible.
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