For Immediate Release
June 15, 2022
Cid Hanna, Director, Community Relations
SAFELINK ALBERTA WATCHING FOR MONKEYPOX
ALBERTA, CA – June 15, 2022.
SafeLink Alberta, in our role of providing support to reduce the harms associated with sexual activity and substance use, is keeping a watchful eye for monkeypox in the communities we serve.
Monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted disease at this time but can spread through close contact. “We understand that viruses don’t discriminate.” says Katie Ayres, Executive Director at SafeLink Alberta. “Anyone can get and spread this rare disease, and we are doing our due diligence to educate and inform our staff and clients of the symptoms to watch for.”
“It’s important to us to support the distribution of accurate information,” says Ayres. “Inaccurate information and narratives relating to transmission of monkeypox and who is likely to be impacted perpetuates harmful stigma and contributes to misinformation surrounding the risks of monkeypox.”
Monkeypox transmission can occur through human-to-human contact when infected individuals or contaminated objects are in close physical contact with non-infected individuals. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, this can include skin to skin contact such as hugging and kissing, contact with clothes, linens, utensils, or other objects that have been exposed to fluid from open sores, and respiratory droplets at close range. Early symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion. Secondary symptoms include a rash, generally developing on the face or extremities but impacting other body parts such as hands, feet, and genitals as well. Sores may be inside the body, including the mouth, vagina, or anus. Sores caused by the rash may resemble rashes caused by other conditions such as herpes, syphilis, smallpox, or chicken pox.
To decrease the risk of contracting monkeypox, avoid skin-to-skin or close contact with anyone who has monkeypox symptoms, use safer sex practices, use hand hygiene practices, and maintain respiratory etiquette including keeping 3 metres of distance and wearing a mask. Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until all sores have healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed.
“The first symptoms of monkeypox are flu-like illness,” says Ayres. “so we are keeping an eye out for illness within our clients and recommending anyone with these symptoms seek the advice of a healthcare provider or visit a public health clinic for assessment” SafeLink Alberta is also working closely with Alberta Health to support low barrier assessment and treatment supports for marginalized communities.
About SafeLink Alberta
SafeLink Alberta is an organization that works to reduce the risks associated with sexual activity and substance use. They serve and advocate for priority populations in Calgary and Southern Alberta
by providing education, non-judgmental services, and harm reduction programming.
Since 1983, they have been committed to supporting those affected by HIV, hepatitis C, and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections.
Regardless of circumstance, SafeLink Alberta recognizes that each individual is a person first, and that all people have a right to equitable health care and support.
SafeLink Alberta supports the Public Health of Canada’s stance on distribution of accurate information and recognizes that spreading misinformation about viral transmission of monkeypox can not only be stigmatizing but also cause misinformation surrounding risk related to this virus.
For more information visit: www.safelinkalberta.ca.