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Monkeypox

You may have heard about Monkeypox in the news recently. But what is it, what are the symptoms and how can you access help and information?

Monkeypox is a rare illness caused by the Monkeypox virus and one of the symptoms is a rash that is sometimes confused with chickenpox. It is usually associated with travel to Central or West Africa but cases have been occurring in England with no travel links.

Monkeypox can be spread when someone comes into close contact with an infected person. The virus can enter the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract or through the eyes, nose or mouth.

If you get infected with Monkeypox, it usually takes between five and 21 days for the first symptoms to appear. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.

A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body. The rash changes and goes through different stages – a bit like chicken pox – before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.

The virus can spread if there is close contact between people through:

  • touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the Monkeypox rash
  • touching Monkeypox skin blisters or scabs
  • the coughs or sneezes of a person with the Monkeypox rash

Anyone with concerns that they could be infected should see a health professional but make contact with the clinic or surgery ahead of a visit. NHS 111 can also give advice.

UKHSA is investigating the recent cases in England. A notable proportion of early cases detected have been in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, so UKHSA is urging this community in particular to be alert to any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay.

Our services are open Monday to Friday between 9am – 5pm and we encourage you to call us on the telephone numbers below if you have any queries, worries or symptoms.

  • 0300 330 1122 for Teesside and Northern Lincolnshire
  • 0300 303 8565 for Oldham, Bury and Rochdale
  • 0300 247 0020 for Cheshire West and Chester

In the meantime, UKHSA will post regular updates on gov.uk.

Improving access to Sexual health facilities across Oldham, Bury and Rochdale

More community sexual health facilities are to be provided for people in Oldham, Bury and Rochdale.

As part of a new outreach model being delivered by HCRG Care Group – the team will offer more outreach services from our existing sites.

We are working closely with our partners to provide greater access to sexual health support for vulnerable people and young people who are hard to reach within the community.

Sarah Lunt, Head of Sexual Health & Dermatology, at HCRG Care Group, said: “This is brilliant news for people in Oldham, Bury and Rochdale. At HCRG Care Group, we are proud to change people’s lives by transforming health and care and this expansion of services will allow us to reach more patients in the heart of their community.”

This work is part of an ongoing transformation programme being delivered by HCRG Care Group alongside our partners, which has been recommissioned by the three local authorities to deliver sexual health services until April 2027.

Sexual health outreach services include “Clinic in a Box”, which was launched during lockdown and will continue to give people access to contraception and sexual health information at convenient locations throughout Greater Manchester.

The expansion of services follows the announcement in December 2021 that sexual health services in Bury, Oldham and Rochdale had been rated as ‘Outstanding’ when it comes to caring for patients and ‘Good’ in safety, effectiveness, responsiveness and being well-led by the Care Quality Commission.

Sexual health services are run by HCRG Care Group on behalf of the local authorities in each area.

The service runs the Sexual Health Hub thesexualhealthub.co.uk where local people can order testing kits for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV and syphilis. Also available online are condoms, emergency hormonal contraceptive pill and pregnancy tests.

Cheshire Pride

We are long-term supporters and sponsors of Chester Pride – one of the UK’s largest free to attend LGBT+ Pride events.

In August, we also supported Chester Pride Digital and took part in Pride TV, a livestream Q&A hosted by Lady Wanda Why.

The Q&A featured Justine Purnell, Specialist Practitioner and Dr Hardeep Kang, who both work in the Integrated Sexual Health Service covering Chester West and Chester. They answered questions from the public and shared their expertise on several topics from testing for sexual transmitted diseases to sex and sexual health.

Our Sexual Health team also used the event to promote The Box Project, which is a charitable project we run in partnership with Chester Pride. The boxes have free condoms, sanitary products and help and advice on a wide range of issues. Launched last year, the boxes can be found at bars, pubs, clubs, and other public areas in the city. They encourage people to take the relevant pack for moments when caught short, in immediate need or due to lack of funds.

For more information, please contact 0300 247 0020

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