Tips to Be Safer at Kink, Pride and Fetish Fests in the Age of Monkeypox

ATLANTA, G.A, September 15, 2022 — With the mission to provide sex-positive and queer-centric resources to the Atlanta metropolitan areas, Stop HIV Atlanta believes that the way to mitigate the HIV crisis is to provide reliable resources to at-risk communities. 

Although Pride Month is over, Pride events in Atlanta formally kick off in the fall to allow folks to celebrate their queer identities in cooler temperatures. This year, pride, kink, and fetish fests in Atlanta may coincide with the monkeypox outbreak currently affecting the United States. However, you and those around you can take steps to be safer at these events regardless of the status of communal monkeypox transmission. Read on below for helpful tips and things to consider when participating in kink, pride, and fetish fests this season. 

Get Vaccinated 

Getting a vaccine against monkeypox is now easier than ever thanks to The Georgia Department of Health’s centralized online scheduling tool. The JYNNEOS™ vaccine is used to prevent smallpox and monkeypox in the United States. 

Although you will have some immunity against monkeypox after the first dose, you may want to consider being fully vaccinated for any upcoming events to protect yourself and others. Being fully vaccinated means waiting about 14 days after your second dose of the vaccine before participating in any activity that can result in a monkeypox contraction. The second dose is recommended 28 to 35 days after the first one. 

Talk to Your Partners About Protection 

A monkeypox transmission can occur during sexual activity or the performance of a kink or fetish. Infections typically occur through skin-to-skin or intimate contact common while having sex, kissing, cuddling, hooking up, or sharing fetish gear. 

Those engaging in activity with familiar or new partners alike can take steps to ensure they have safer sexual activity. Sexually active individuals can protect themselves by participating in non-physical sexual acts such as masturbating at a distance, phone sex, virtual sex, voyeurism, or sexting. Additionally, you can disinfect surfaces before and after using them, and bring your own fetish gear to avoid sharing. As long as you establish consent and safe words to use during play, there’s no limit to sexual creativity. 

Establishing Levels of Comfort 

Determining your and your sexual partners’ comfort levels is crucial to maintaining a safe, fun, and consensual sex life. This can take the form of many decisions: from choosing favorite sexual partners and participating in partner notification to abstaining from sexual encounters until you feel ready. Talk to your partners and those within their sexual network about ways to encourage transparency this Pride season. Some of the things to suggest to encourage comfort, trust, and transparency can be to monitor the presence of symptoms and share test results, vaccination statuses, and knowledge about potential exposure. 

Additionally, this kink and fetish fest season, aftercare and support are just as important as the festivities. If you or someone within your network knows of an active monkeypox infection, extend a hand and direct them to resources such as Stop HIV Atlanta’s monkeypox newsletters for aid. You should also establish discourse on the importance of STI and HIV testing to know your status, offer informed consent, and seek treatment options that are right for you. 

About Stop HIV Atlanta:

Stop HIV Atlanta is a non-profit organization offering educational resources to prevent the propagation of HIV in disproportionately affected communities. We provide inclusive, zero-judgment information and resources to those seeking access to HIV services in Fulton, Gwinnett, DeKalb, and Cobb Counties. The testing, prevention (PrEP), and treatment resources we refer to interested parties are always confidential and secure. Learn more about our mission and services by visiting www.stophivatl.org or emailing us at [email protected] 

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