Health

Gay porn star shares ‘brutal’ monkeypox experience: ‘I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy’

Josh Milton August 2, 2022
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Side by side photo of Silver Steele with lesions under his chin and upper lip and leg

Silver Steele, a gay porn star living in Houston, Texas, has been candid about his bout of monkeypox. (Twitter)

Gay porn star Silver Steele has opened up about his “brutal” experience of monkeypox.

Steele told Rolling Stone he had a lot of skin-to-skin contact – one of the main ways monkeypox spreads – during a Fourth of July party.

A few days later, his face came out in small lumps, which he initially shrugged off as razor burn. He tested on 15 July and found out he was positive three days later.

He documented his experience with the virus in excruciating detail on Twitter to his near 40,000 followers.

Steele, who has a degree in biology, assumed monkeypox would be “mild”. It was not.

At first, the lesions on his face were “painless” and were accompanied by flu-like symptoms.

But this didn’t last for long. He wrote: “I am now at two weeks and the lesions on my face are brutal.

“I now have additional lesions appearing randomly on my body, albeit smaller ones (hopefully).

“The pain I’ve been experiencing keeps my eyes full of tears and keeps my light dimmed. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy…”

On day 15, Steele shared a post about the now scabbing lesions on his face and body. He called on people to “show compassion and kindness to people going through this”.

“It could be you,” he said. “People can feel alone in this.”

Twenty days into monkeypox, on 30 July, Steele said his symptoms had only just eased up. He said he no longer felt he needed painkillers and that the lesions covering his body were “nearly gone”.

He added that friends have reported even more severe symptoms, including “urethral and anorectal lesions that make going to the bathroom feel like you’re trying to pass hot needles”.

Steele said he has encountered bigotry from some Twitter users. But not speaking out is far more harmful than the odd troll, he said.

“The people who want to sling stones and arrows at me are not the audience for my post anyway,” he said.

“It’s meant to provide insight and education for those who want to know and to give visibility to the virus.”

Monkeypox, similar to smallpox, typically sees people experience fever, body aches and swollen lymph nodes before a rash begins to form. The rash first starts with flat red marks that swell with puss, with lesions seen on the genitals, anus and mouth.

The outbreak has so far been detected mostly among gay and bisexual men.

One study found that of 528 monkeypox cases across 16 countries, 98 per cent of patients were gay or bisexual men and men who have sex with men.

Vaccination programmes are targeting queer men, and the community is being urged to be on the lookout for symptoms.

However, activists and officials are also wary of reporting and messaging around the virus veering into homophobia, stressing that monkeypox is not a “gay disease” and can affect anyone.

The World Health Organization has said it’s only a matter of time before monkeypox spreads beyond the community, and has declared monkeypox a public health emergency.

 

More: Monkeypox

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