News

SAN FRANCISCO ENCOURAGES MPOX VACCINATION AS SUMMER APPROACHES

***Press Release***
May 28, 2024

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) is encouraging people to take care of their sexual health as summer approaches by being fully vaccinated for mpox (formerly known as monkeypox). While there is not currently a rise in mpox cases in San Francisco, the virus continues to circulate in areas in the United States. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is monitoring an outbreak of a different strain of the mpox virus that is currently spreading in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and that causes more severe disease.

It takes two doses to be fully vaccinated against mpox. Individuals can receive their second dose of the mpox vaccine if it has been at least 28 days since their first dose. There is no need to restart the two-dose series if it has been over 28 days since the first dose. Booster doses are not recommended at this time for those who have completed the two-dose series. In addition, mpox vaccination is not recommended at this time for those who have previously been infected.

“With summer celebrations such as Pride approaching, now is a great time to protect yourself against mpox by getting vaccinated. The mpox vaccine is available through health systems and at clinics,” said San Francisco Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip. “Even if you are fully vaccinated, it is still important to remain diligent since no vaccine is 100% effective. If you are experiencing symptoms of mpox such as a rash that looks like pimples or blisters, talk to your health care provider about getting tested, and talk to your partners so they can be informed and prevent the spread of infection.”

While anyone who wants protection from mpox infection may seek a vaccine, SFDPH strongly recommends and encourages two-dose vaccination for all people living with HIV, anyone taking or eligible to take HIV PrEP, and all men, trans people, and nonbinary people who have sex with men, trans people, or nonbinary people. Learn more about where to get the mpox vaccine for free, and how to access testing and treatment by visiting sf.gov/mpox. SFDPH will continue to monitor mpox developments and will update the community.

Additional Steps To Protect Your Sexual Health This Summer

Mpox is not the only infection that can spread through sexual contact, and it is important for people to take steps to protect themselves against STIs, including HIV.

“There are many STIs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, to be aware of. Fortunately, there are also many accessible resources out there for people stay healthy,” said Dr. Stephanie Cohen, Director of the HIV and STI Prevention and Control Section for SFDPH. “If you are not comfortable getting tested for an STI at a clinic, you can order a testing kit to your home. We really want people to be aware of their sexual health so they can take care of themselves and others.”

SFDPH encourages individuals to take the following actions to help protect their sexual health:

  • Get tested and treated.
     -  Individuals should talk to their provider and partners about getting tested, and seek treatment if the result is positive. The earlier infections are detected and treated, the better.
     - Those who do not have insurance or are having difficulty accessing care are welcome to visit SFDPH’s San Francisco City Clinic, which offers comprehensive, integrated sexual and reproductive health care, including STI, HIV, and hepatitis C (HCV) testing, diagnosis, and treatment. Visit sfcityclinic.org to learn more.
    - SFDPH has collaborated with community partners to open Health Access Points (HAPs). The goal of the HAPs is to provide equity-focused, stigma-free, and low barrier access to STI, HIV, and HCV, care, and treatment services, as well as harm reduction and overdose prevention services.
    - STI and HIV testing can also be done at home. SFDPH has partnered with Take Me Home and Don’t Think Know to provide free and confidential testing kits. Please visit dontthinkknow.org and takemehome.org to learn more.
  • Learn about the many ways to protect yourself from HIV and STIs, including doxy-PEP, HIV PrEP, and condoms.

    - Doxy-PEP is an antibiotic that is taken after sex to prevent getting an STI. Doxy-PEP has been associated with a sharp decline in chlamydia and early syphilis infections in San Francisco among men who have sex with men and transgender women. In San Francisco, doxy-PEP is recommended for cis men and transgender women who have had a bacterial STI in the past year and have had condomless anal or oral sexual contact with at least one cis male or trans female partner in the past year.
    - HIV PrEP is a highly effective HIV prevention method that can be used to reduce the risk of getting HIV through sex or sharing needles. PrEP is for people of all genders. There are now multiple options for HIV PrEP, including a daily pill, a pill taken around the time of sex, and an injectable medication taken once every 2 months.
    - Condoms can prevent the spread of HIV and STIs, and prevent pregnancy.

  • Get vaccinated to protect yourself from hepatitis A, hepatitis B, human papillomavirus (HPV), and meningitis infections.