Grindr's 'Monkeypox Alert' Advises Users About Telltale Rash

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday May 25, 2022

Grindr sent out a "Monkeypox Alert" that advised users to be on the lookout for the illness' telltale rash or other sores and seek medical attention if they spot it, UK newspaper the Daily Mail reported.

The alert urged users not to panic and encouraged them to know the facts about the disease, which is typically only seen in Africa.

"As of now, there are very few cases of Monkeypox," the advisory stated, "but knowing this information could help prevent you from getting or spreading the virus."

Though the outbreak has so far been prevalent among men who have sex with men (MSM), the disease itself is not primarily transmitted through sex. Unlike HIV, which is spread through bodily fluids, Monkeypox can be transmitted through casual skin-to-skin contact, as well as through sneezes or other "close contact with a sick person," the Mail noted, "including by touching contaminated clothing, bedding or utensils."

The Grindr alert informed users of this fact and urged: "If you or any recent partners (from the last 21 days) have unusual sores or a rash, go see a healthcare provider, either at a clinic or your primary care doctor."

The May 23 alert went out to European users of the dating app; so far, most of the known cases in the outbreak of monkeypox have been in Europe, and, as the Mail pointed out, researchers believe that two raves — one in Belgium and the other in Spain — may have been hubs for the outbreak.

The CDC advises that the signs and symptoms of Monkeypox also include "Fever; Headache; Muscle aches; Backache; Swollen lymph nodes; Chills; Exhaustion."

The CDC also noted that, "Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body." The rash becomes pustules that scab over before healing.

Though many of those affected in the current outbreak are MSM, the CDC cautioned against any assumption that it is a "gay disease," CNBC reported, pointing out that "anyone can contract monkeypox through close personal contact regardless of sexual orientation."

ABC News said that only one confirmed case of Monkeypox has been reported in the United States, though there have been another half-dozen "presumptive" cases. Even so, the disease has commanded media attention, partially because many of those diagnosed thus far belong to the gay or bisexual communities.

Dr. John Brooks, chief medical officer for the CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, noted that "in some cases" the early stage of the disease "has produced anal or genital lesions that look like other diseases like herpes or chickenpox or syphilis."

Brooks added: "What we're trying to do by bringing attention to the fact that some of these cases have had a genital and perianal presentation is just to remind people that people may come in for an evaluation of what they think is an STD, but we'd like the provider to think 'could it be monkeypox as well?' if the circumstances fit the story."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.