While most monkeypox victims have opted to remain anonymous, the first British victim of the virus has come forward to reveal how he contracted it and his dismay at the British government’s blasé response.
According to the MailOnline, the man who wishes only to be known as James M for fear of the stigma already attached to monkeypox caught the virus after being deported back to Britain from Dubai for being HIV positive.
James, who works as an HR manager in London, England is a sexually active gay man who says he began to feel “really weird aches” in his lower back, exhaustion, extreme thirst, and frequent urination upon returning to the city from Dubai.
Initially, he thought he may have contracted an STI because he had slept with around 10 gay men in the weeks before the symptoms began.
“I’m a gay man, and having just come back to the UK, I was having a good time,” he told the Mail.
Doctors didn’t believe the ailment James was suffering from could be monkeypox, which was known to be spreading among gay men at the time, because he did not have the tell-tale blistery rash.
When no STI was detected, James was sent on to a specialist center and was told by medics to avoid using public transport and socially distance where possible.
“When I got to the clinic I was told to go and wait outside the main door and call them, they said they were going to put on PPE and they told me not to touch door handles”, he said.
“The whole experience kind of heightens your sense of, “oh this must be really serious”. I remember going to Covid centres and it wasn’t as daunting or overwhelming as this.”
The tests confirmed James had monkeypox and he received a letter from the British National Health Service instructing him to “stay in isolation at home until further review from the team,” but James says over a week since receiving the letter, he has had no further contact from authorities or medical professionals.
He went on to say that he has not been asked to name anyone he’s been in close contact with, including the numerous gay men he had slept with, and said he’s not surprised the virus has spread as quickly as it has:
“It’s no wonder now we’re getting so many more infections if no contact tracing or awareness about you not needing the spots to have the virus being told to people.
“No-one’s asked me who I’ve been in contact with. I was told that within 24 hours of my diagnosis someone from UKHSA would call me.
“I’ve called the clinic every day, asking “why aren’t they calling me, I’m not allowed outside and not allowed to go work. The UKHSA is not calling me, someone needs to document this.”‘
— Greg Folkers 🇺🇦☮️🇺🇸 (@greg_folkers) June 1, 2022
While James isn’t sure which one of his numerous sexual partners could have infected him with monkeypox, he said he saw a suspicious spot on a gay partner’s torso:
“I asked them about it and they said they’d always had it.”
Monkeypox, which can be spread by infected individuals sneezing, coughing, or talking has now spread to numerous Western countries including at least 13 states in the USA. The rise in Western cases was thought to have begun when a man returned from a remote part of Africa to the UK.
While it isn’t known if the ‘patient zero’ was gay, around half of the 183 cases of the virus in Britain are homosexual or bisexual individuals. The CDC has warned that while monkeypox is prevalent in the gay community, anyone can catch or spread the virus and it is not an STI.
This story syndicated with permission from Jo Marney, Author at Trending Politics
Notice: This article may contain commentary that reflects the author's opinion.
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