Talk about a double whammy.
James M., a 35-year-old gay, Human Resources manager who contracted Monkeypox, told The Daily Mail it happened after he was deported from Dubai in February for testing positive for HIV. He had been working in the Middle Eastern country for four years.
Upon his return to the U.K., he says he hooked up with around 10 different partners and has a hunch one of his partners, who had a spot on their chest, gave him monkeypox. His symptoms included back aches, exhaustion, extreme thirst and pain when going to the bathroom.
He shared his story as the monkeypox outbreak continues to spread across the globe and health agencies continues to talk about the dangers of the virus. In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control issued new recommendations to protect travelers.
On May 25, James was directed to a special clinic for testing. He says that’s when the highly contagious nature of monkeypox really hit home.
“When I got to the clinic, I was told to go and wait outside the main door and call them, they said they were going to put on PPE and they told me not to touch door handles,” he recalled. “The whole experience kind of heightens your sense of, ‘Oh this must be really serious.”
“I remember going to COVID centers and it wasn’t as daunting or overwhelming as this.”
James’ harshest words are reserved for U.K.’s Health Security Agency. “I was told to stay home until UKHSA contacted me… and they never did,” he bemoaned. He says it’s been eight days since he was instructed to self-isolate and there has been no contact tracing. He thinks it’s no wonder Britain has the second highest monkeypox caseload after Africa.
He also is critical of a hospital that told him at point, when he wanted to check in due to severe symptoms, that there was no monkeypox specialist on duty during weekends. Meanwhile, specialists he was in touch with later admitted, he said, that they dropped the ball regarding contact tracing.
The agency disputes James’ account, saying it tried repeatedly to get in touch with him. James insists that because he did not have the telltale Monkeypox rash, the initial diagnosis by the agency was that he could not possibly have it. His test for the disease came back positive May 28.