In the current outbreak, mpox (monkeypox) is being transmitted within sexual networks by close contact during sexual activity. This could include if your face, lips, hands or fingers (or other skin to skin contact during sex) comes into contact with mpox rash, spots or lesions, and possibly from having sex on the bedding of someone with mpox, or from respiratory fluids exchanged during kissing, oral sex or sneezing.

Mpox does not spread easily between people. However, it can be caught from:

  • touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the mpox rash
  • touching mpox skin blisters or scabs.

There might be a very small risk from being exposed from the coughs or sneezes of a person with mpox, although this mode of transmission, while possible, is not an effective means for the virus.

To protect yourself from mpox you can:

  • get vaccinated
  • take steps to reduce the chances of coming into contact with mpox.

Reducing the chances of coming into contact with mpox (monkeypox)


It is important to remember that mpox is mainly transmitted through your skin coming into contact with the virus in bodily fluids, rash, spots or ulcers.

You can take steps to help reduce the risk of mpox by:

  • Reducing your number of sexual partners or hook-ups.
  • Reducing episodes of prolonged skin to skin contact with lots of people.
  • Not sharing bedding or towels with people who are unwell and may have mpox.
  • Not having close skin-to-skin contact with people who are unwell or have symptoms of mpox.
  • Washing your hands with soap and water regularly or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser as you may have come into contact with skin lesions or secretions which might have ended up on your hands.

This information is being reviewed carefully as we learn more.

Do condoms prevent you catching or passing on mpox (monkeypox)?


We always encourage use of condoms to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Mpox (monkeypox) is not an STI by nature, though it can be passed on by direct contact during sex.

The spots, ulcers and blisters, which are most likely to pass on mpox, can appear on any part of the body, so condoms will not necessarily prevent transmission of the virus between two people who are in direct contact, including during sex.

Although it is not clear if mpox can be transmitted through genital secretions, UKHSA is advising the precaution of using condoms for 12 weeks after a confirmed diagnosis of mpox.

UKHSA has set out guidance for semen testing for viral DNA for people diagnosed with mpox.

Mpox can also be passed on through contact with clothing, bedding and towels used by someone with mpox.

Am I at greater risk from monkeypox (mpox) if I’m HIV positive?


New data shows that the impact of mpox on those living with HIV who are not taking HIV treatment, or have a CD4 count below 200 can be more severe. People at high risk of HIV are advised to get tested for the virus, along with anyone who tests positive for mpox.

Those on treatment with well-managed HIV who had high CD4 cell counts had similar outcomes as those without HIV.

Does mpox (monkeypox) affect PrEP effectiveness?


No. HIV PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is still effective. People who use PrEP should continue to take it.

If I’ve already had mpox (monkeypox) can I get it again?


There is not enough data available to answer this question.

You will gain some natural immunity from a previous infection but we cannot say for certain if this will protect you from new mpox infection.