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Monkeypox disproportionately affects gay and bisexual men, but anyone can get the virus

Monkeypox is disproportionately impacting the MSM community, or men who have sex with men. 

Jimmy Thomason is the executive director of Aunt Rita’s Foundation, which supports people living with HIV/AIDS.

"I mean, the numbers are staggeringly high. As far as percentages, 95% is related to men who have sex with men," Thomason said. 

He says vaccines are available to those at higher-risk, which according to Maricopa County,  includes gay, bisexual, trans and cis men, as well as trans women. 

"I cannot even keep track anymore of how many individuals have, who I know personally, have gone and gotten the vaccine," Thomason said. 

Although monkeypox is mostly affecting the MSM community, Thomason wants people to know that anyone can contract this virus.

"And so I guess the focus here is that this is not just a gay disease," he said. "I mean, you can get this by touching skin, meaning the arm anywhere, there's a rash, you can also get it on from sheets and towels that are shared."

According to news reports, women and children have also been infected with the virus. 

Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.