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Monkeypox Is an STD, No More Time to Waste, Says AHF

·2-min read

Two respected scientists and doctors make a strong case in a recent Medium article for monkeypox to be formally classified and considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI)

AHF believes classifying the virus as an STI more accurately reflects transmission of the new clade or strain of the virus, which is primarily affecting gay men, and allow for a better, more accurate response to the growing outbreak

LOS ANGELES, August 18, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today is calling for monkeypox to be treated as, and formally classified as a sexually transmitted infection (STI). AHF believes classifying the virus as an STI more accurately reflects transmission of the new clade or strain of the virus, which is primarily affecting gay men and men who have sex with men and is urging that our collective public health response immediately adopt an approach that considers monkeypox as an STI.

"Following the initial and abysmal global, federal, state and local responses to monkeypox, we simply have NO time to waste, we must consider and respond to monkeypox as an STI or STD if we are ever going to get a handle on this virus," said AHF President Michael Weinstein. "Thinking of and treating monkeypox as an STD is the best way forward for our collective public health response."

AHF’s call comes on the heels of an article titled, "Is Monkeypox a Sexually Transmitted Infection?", published earlier this week on Medium (August 13, 2022).

In their Medium article, the two authors, Lao-Tzu Allan-Blitz, MD, Chief Resident Physician, Global Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital and Jeffrey D. Klausner, MD, MPH, Clinical Professor of Medicine, Infectious Disease, Population and Public Health Sciences, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, note that "…whether human monkeypox constitutes a sexually transmitted infection, and why that would be important, are subject to ongoing debate." However, they then make a strong case for treating monkeypox as an STI, concluding:

"The transmission dynamics of human monkeypox, at least across the United States and Europe, appears to be highly consistent with a sexually transmitted infection. Our public health response, therefore, should incorporate sexual health into its response to the current outbreak, including frank discussion of specific sexual behaviors like condomless anal sex that increase the risk for transmission. At the same time, we must destigmatize both the disease and its route of transmission. Targeted screening among populations with high risk for other sexually transmitted infections may be important strategies for case identification. Finally, further work should evaluate formally the transmissibility of human monkeypox from different bodily fluids through experimental studies and careful epidemiologic analyses with particular attention to the possibility of differing transmission dynamics in different regions of the globe."

Although the virus has been found in the seminal fluid of a few patients in Europe, monkeypox is currently not classified as a sexually transmitted infection (STI), but one that may be associated with sexual activity via skin-to-skin transmission.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.6 million individuals in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website:, find us on Facebook:, follow us @aidshealthcare or subscribe to our AHF podcast "AHFter Hours."

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Ged Kenslea, Senior Director, Communications, AHF +1.323.791.5526 cell
Imara Canady, National Director, Communications & Community Engagement
+1.770.940.6555 cell