Sexual health

Questions & Answers from our Monkeypox Town Hall

Have questions about monkeypox? Get answers from SFAF's clinicians.

If I am eligible for the vaccine, how do I get on SFAF’s waitlist?

Sign up at https://www.sfaf.org/monkeypoxvax

Who is currently eligible for the monkeypox vaccine? 

People who have been exposed to monkeypox are currently eligible to receive the vaccine. Getting the vaccine after exposure can help prevent symptoms. When we get a larger supply of vaccine, we will be able to vaccinate more people.

How do I keep myself and others safe if I’m going out to bars, clubs, and large events like Dore Alley?

Monkeypox is spread primarily through skin-to-skin contact and bodily fluids. Reducing the amount of, or number of people with whom you have skin-to-skin contact will reduce the chance of exposure. You can have conversations with potential sexual partners about how they’re feeling and if they are exhibiting any symptoms. And if you are feeling sick, stay home.

Can I get monkeypox if I use gym equipment or sit in a chair after someone with monkeypox has used it?

Most likely not, and the risk is very small unless someone has an exposed rash or if there are bodily fluids (other than sweat) on the equipment. Although it’s possible if you share things like towels or sheets with someone who has a rash, the highest risk is having direct contact with someone who has active lesions. But sharing things like gym equipment or chairs is very unlikely.

Should festival and nightlife producers & promoters cancel events? Or what steps could they take to make sure attendees are safe?

We don’t think it’s necessary to cancel events because of monkeypox. Instead, focus on making sure attendees have the info they need to take care of their health (visit sfaf.org/monkeypox or sf.gov/monkeypox). If an attendee does develop symptoms soon after, make it clear who they can contact so the organizers can alert the community.

Can monkeypox be spread asymptomatically?

Monkeypox is not thought to spread asymptomatically. If you are exposed to monkeypox, it may be 1-2 weeks before you develop symptoms including a rash (this is called the “incubation period”). Most people are not contagious until they start experiencing symptoms, although these symptoms may be mild (such as fatigue) and not be readily noticed.

Can I get tested even if I don’t have any symptoms? 

No. The current testing involves taking a swab of your rash. If you develop a rash that you are worried may be monkeypox, we’ll test the fluid inside the rash to see if it’s monkeypox. If you have been exposed to monkeypox, call 415-581-1600 and press 2 to schedule a visit.   

If I received the first monkeypox vaccine dose but not the second, how protected am I?

You’ll be pretty well protected two weeks after your first dose. 

If I’ve already had monkeypox, can I get it again?

If you’ve already had monkeypox, your immune system will have an antibody response that should protect you from getting monkeypox again. This protection will likely last at least several years.

Are there any risks to getting the monkeypox vaccine if you are living with HIV?

There are currently no known increased risks for people living with HIV. Everyone is encouraged to get the monkeypox vaccine when it becomes available and they are eligible.

If I see someone with a rash or skin condition that could be monkeypox, how can I approach them? 

If you are in a situation where you don’t feel you can approach someone and ask respectfully, it is probably better not to approach them. We don’t want to stigmatize anyone who may have monkeypox or another skin condition like acne. 

Do I need a second dose of the Jynneos vaccine for monkeypox? Are second doses of the Jynneos vaccine available?

San Francisco has very limited availability of the Jynneos vaccine for monkeypox. Because of these shortages, San Francisco AIDS Foundation is currently following guidance from San Francisco Department of Public Health to prioritize first doses of the Jynneos vaccine for eligible people. We are not currently offering second doses to people who have already received a first dose. 

As soon as vaccine supplies increase, we will offer second doses to people who have received a first dose. 

People experience a robust immune response two weeks after receiving the first dose of the Jynneos vaccine. This means that you will have protection from monkeypox even before receiving the second dose.  


Medical review provided by: Hyman Scott, MD, MPH and Jorge Roman, MSN, FNP-BC, AAHIVS. 

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