While we’ve all started to read and see reports of monkeypox starting to crop up throughout the country (with a special focus on the LGBTQ community), many of us would have been hard pressed to be able to put a face to the latest virus that our community (along with the rest of the globe) are facing. That all changed this week, when New York City actor/singer Matt Ford came out publicly as being diagnosed with monkeypox and gave readers a detailed look at his experience, from initial diagnosis to symptoms to treatment.
Ford took to BuzzFeed (he used to be employed by BuzzFeed Video), Twitter, and TikTok to discuss his experience at length, photos included. He indicated that mid-June of this year, monkeypox became very real to him when a friend from Los Angeles called to inform him that he himself had tested positive for monkeypox and Ford might have been exposed via skin to skin contact. A quick check near the underwear line and Ford noticed some lesions, which followed the day after with full and intense flu-like symptoms that lasted for a week. A test on June 20th indicated he did in fact, have monkeypox. The lesions Ford previously saw intensified, with more cropping up on other parts of his body including his face, which was becoming increasingly more painful.
Approximately a week following his the initial appearance of the legions, Ford’s symptoms began to ease, although the lesions continued appearing (Ford has counted more than twenty five lesions on his body from his scalp to his arms and legs and down to his feet). Now, Ford is simply waiting for the lesions to heal and is on the road to recovery. He is also doing what he can to de-stigmatize the disease while at the same time, letting people know what treatments are available.
For those asking how I got it: It was through skin-to-skin contact.
Here’s the CDC on how it spreads and what the spots look like (I can confirm): pic.twitter.com/NprcOrDc2s
— Matt Ford (@JMatthiasFord) June 23, 2022
While the CDC has indicated that a rash can be one of the primary symptoms of an initial monkeypox diagnosis, it can differ for many. No one has currently died from monkeypox in the United States currently, and absolutely anyone has the potential to contract monkeypox-not just gay men. The CDC is also quick to note that monkeypox is not considered an STI, and can be spread through “direct contact with an infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids” (a vaccine is also available but in limited quantities, with New York City being one of the only locations in the United States offering it). Ford indicated in his video that he came out publicly to hopefully de-stigmatize contracting the disease (as something only gay men are contracting), as well as to advocate people to “be careful and be safe”.
Follow Matt Ford on Instagram