Monkeypox cases in Riverside County continue to rise.
With nearly 80 reported cases and counting, misinformation about how the virus is spread and by who is causing concern.
“A virus can impact anybody and affect anybody,” C.J. Tobe, Director of Community Health and Sexual Wellness at DAP Health, explained.
Tobe says there are two major falsehoods surrounding monkeypox.
“Monkeypox is not a gay disease. Monkeypox is also not a sexually transmitted infection,” Tobe continued. “We know viruses can impact anybody, right? Regardless of your age, gender, your race, or how much money you make. A virus can impact anybody.”
And this kind of misinformation can be very problematic.
“There’s just so much misinformation out there right now surrounding monkeypox,” Tobe said. “When there’s misinformation, it leads to fear, which then results in people hating others, specifically groups. Then that leads to people being targeted and it prevents them from accessing any kind of support that they may need for something that’s not their fault.”
Which is something that’s happened before.
“We know in the 80s after HIV came about, HIV is not a gay disease and that virus can impact anybody,” Tobe shared. “We also know that COVID is another virus that can impact anybody, and that it is not an Asian disease. Monkeypox today in 2022, we know monkeypox is not a gay disease and it’s not a sexually transmitted infection. Anybody can get a virus like monkeypox.”
Monkeypox is mostly spread through physical contact, so knowing what to do and what not to do at Splash House can keep you and others safe.
“We know that monkeypox is transmitted through prolonged physical contact which can be hugging, cuddling, and also through sex,” Tobe said. “If someone is hanging out, having a drink outside by the pool, being social, chatting with friends, dancing to some music, people aren’t going to get monkeypox. It’s when you have prolonged physical touch of the skin that will transmit monkeypox. So the recommendation is you should not be sharing your towels or really any linens with other people. Don’t share your towel. Use your towel only and dispose of it properly when you’re done so it can be clean and sanitized.”
NBC Palm Springs reached out to a couple of hotels hosting Splash House events to see if they are preparing any differently, but we are still waiting for a response.
In terms of vaccines, DAP Health received almost 300 more doses Friday afternoon and hope to vaccinate about 1,500 people next week.
For more information on the vaccine and eligibility, click here.