The photo on Brian Thomas’s Instagram page was typically sunny for the social media personality, who has built a growing presence as a sex-positive gay nurse living with HIV.
“Goodbye Wilton Manors!” it read, next to a photo of him grinning shirtless among the palm trees in the mostly strange town in South Florida. “What a great trip! I can’t wait to come back!”
It was the last post of his vacation, a busy week of sunbathing poolside and going to the nude beach and enjoying all the delights that Wilton Manors’ nightlife has to offer.
A few days after returning home to Baltimore, the blisters appeared.
About to be educated in living with a new viral threat, Brian joined a growing number of people around the world who have been diagnosed with monkeypox, a sometimes debilitating infection that causes fevers, abdominal cramps and painful blisters that leave scars on the skin. can cause the body. It is also highly contagious.
@pozrn Be careful in the coming weeks, yalls… I’m not alone! #Pride #monkeypox #comedy #keepingitlight ♬ Originalton – POVs
Within hours of his diagnosis, Brian took to his social media pages and revealed what he was going through. He was typically transparent and posted video testimonials that do not shy away from intimate details. He has discussed each symptom as it occurred, which gay sex would have exposed him to the virus, and the lesions in his rectum that caused him great pain.
His messages during his two-week isolation from monkeypox were informative, dish-like, sexually candid and incredibly important if we are to raise the level of alarm about this latest viral passenger within the LGBTQ community. (No, monkeypox is not a gay disease, but it has established itself early on among us, following our social and sexual habits and interactions. It’s only a matter of time before it finds safe passage among other demographics.)
We need as many stories as possible to help us get basic information about monkey pox, especially when we’re talking about a virus that could become a new, endemic disease that everyone will avoid for the rest of our lives.
Brian’s posts tie in with other first real-time video reports from the Monkeypox front lines. He has guided us through his physical ailments, his treatment, and the frustration and doubt that comes from spending two weeks in isolation with an infection steeped in sexual shame and homophobia. (Watch a lengthy video interview with Brian Thomas with activist Mark S. King.)
It seems monkeypox is quickly moving from a superficial concern to a front-and-center health threat that we need to take seriously, and now.
Search Contributor Mark S. King is a GLAAD Award winner My Fabulous Disease, for his blog about living with HIV.