Céline Gounder, MD, Infectious Disease Specialist answers questions about the monkeypox virus.
Monkeypox can look like herpes, syphilis, HPV, as well as some other more rare STDs. Our current tests require a swab of an active lesion. So, if you do not yet have an active lesion, you should be checking yourself over the couple weeks after an exposure to see if you do develop a lesion. The best way to do this is to check your skin, your mouth, and around your mouth, your genitalia, and around your anus. You can use a handheld mirror to have a look at some of those spots. And if it’s still really hard to reach and examine yourself, ask a friend or partner, or seek a medical provider’s help in doing so.
If you have a lesion in or around the penis, in or around the vagina, or in or around the anus, you should get a swab of that lesion for testing.
The best place to seek testing is at a sexual health clinic. We’ve already seen issues with many providers still being unaware of this outbreak. We strongly recommend that if you have symptoms of monkeypox, have had an exposure to monkeypox that you seek testing at a sexual health clinic. The easiest way to identify the nearest sexual health clinic near you is to go to get tested.cdc.gov.
For more on monkeypox, visit greaterthan.org/monkeypox.