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Take Pride in Your Health: Prevent and Treat Mpox

As Pride celebrations kick off in the region, Buncombe County Health and Human Services celebrates inclusivity and highlights the importance of taking care of yourself and others. Services to support everyone’s reproductive health are available in Buncombe County for anyone seeking more information about reproductive health, testing, treatment, and more. 

We encourage you to take pride in your sexual health by following simple preventative measures and getting vaccinated and tested often. 

Mpox Outbreak 

The U.S. has seen a recent increase in mpox cases in various parts of the country. Mpox is a disease that is transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact during intimate activities such as kissing, cuddling, or sex. The infection usually presents itself with a painful rash that looks like pimples or blisters. In addition to rashes, people may have a fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, exhaustion, and other symptoms.  

In North Carolina, there have been 711 mpox cases as of September of this year with gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men making up most of the cases since the global outbreak started in 2022. 

Because of the recent rise of mpox cases in the U.S., it is important that those who meet criteria for vaccination get vaccinated and that we all take precautions to stay healthy.  

The Vaccine 

The mpox vaccine, JYNNEOS, is a safe and effective vaccine that reduces the risk of infection and the severity of the disease. The vaccine is administered in two doses, 28 days apart.  

The vaccine is free and administered throughout North Carolina.  

Vaccines are available at: 

Additionally, you can use this mpox vaccine locator to find a site near you. 

Mpox Vaccine Eligibility 

  • Had close contact in the past two weeks with someone diagnosed with mpox. 
  • Sexually active gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, or transgender individuals. 
  • Had sexual contact with gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, or transgender individuals in the past 90 days. 
  • Those with HIV or taking medication to prevent HIV or those who have been diagnosed with syphilis in the past 90 days. 
  • People who have had sex at a commercial sex venue or in a large public event. 
  • Have sexual partners who had the above risks or people who anticipate having the above risks. 

Other safety measures you can take 

  • Get tested – if you think you may have mpox, abstain from intimate contact. Schedule an appointment to be seen by a healthcare provider who will determine if you need to be tested for mpox. 
  • You can get tested at Buncombe County Health and Human Services or at WNCCHS. 
  • Check before getting intimate – look and feel your body for any rashes or blisters. Abstain from sex if you find any and make an appointment with a healthcare provider 

Buncombe County STI Testing and Treatment Clinic 
Services: mpox vaccine and testing, other STI testing and treatments, and other vaccines 
Cost: free or low-cost 
Location: 40 Coxe Avenue, Asheville 
Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

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Updated Oct 18, 2023 11:16 AM
Published Oct 11, 2023 12:00 PM

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