Am I at risk from monkeypox virus (MPV) on a trip to the US?
26 May 2022. Related: All topics, Coinfections.
I’m planning to travel to USA for some holiday. I’m HIV positive, on ART medication, CD4 is 610, viral load undetectable.
Can you give me some advice how to protect my self from monkeypox infection during my trip?
Thanks for your question.
Great you are doing so well on your HIV meds (ART).
Having an undetectable viral load and a CD4 count above 350 likely means that HIV doesn’t affect any risk from monkeypox (MPV).
So advice for the general public will be the same for you.
Luckily, MPV is still very rare in the UK and it is even more rare in the US. So your risk of coming into contact with MPV is close to zero.
COVID will be a higher risk, but if you are up to date with COVID vaccines, including a recent booster, this risk is also low.
Unlike COVID, you need to be in a confined space with someone for over 3-6 hours for MPV to be transmitted in a closed space. And even the flight would not count as a closed space due to air circulation on a plane.
Wearing a mask would reduce any risk, but is it more likely to protect you from COVID which is still common in the UK and the US.
Risks from more direct contact, for example from new sexual partners, is a higher risk for MPV. But this is very similar to some STIs.
Given that sex always carries a small risk of an STI, monkeypox shouldn’t affect your upcoming holiday.
You might find that people in the US are more cautious about catching MPV from you.
These links have more info.
Monkeypox: Q&A and update
BHIVA and ECDC statements about MPV.