(CNN) — Matt Ford edits videos for a living, so it wasn’t hard for him to put one together for TikTok. However, his most recent post was not a dance or a video on how to peel a banana the right way, as he tells of his own experience with monkeypox.
His video has been viewed some 250,000 times as of Friday afternoon and he posted it to help educate people about the virus outbreak, encourage people to get vaccinated and make one thing very clear: “You don’t want this.”
— Matt Ford (@JMatthiasFord) June 27, 2022
Anyone can get monkeypox, but a “remarkable fraction” of cases in the global outbreak are among gay and bisexual men, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ).
“I first became aware and noticed the symptoms on Friday, June 17,” Ford told CNN from his home in Los Angeles, where he will have to stay a few more weeks until he is no longer contagious, based on county-mandated isolation. .
I was hoping to go to Pride in New York last week. “But that wasn’t in the plans,” she said.
In the video, Ford talks about how the virus spreads and shows some of his injuries.
Monkeypox is spread when someone has direct contact with a person’s rash, scabs, or infectious body fluids. It can also be spread through respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact or by touching items that previously came into contact with the bodily fluids of someone who has been affected, according to the CDC.
Ford said he had been vaguely aware of a monkeypox outbreak via Twitter, but did not know how close he had come to the outbreak until a friend reached out to inform him that Ford may have been exposed.
Ford said he immediately began a thorough search of his body.
“I noticed some spots that I hadn’t noticed before,” said Ford, 30. He said the spots looked like pimples or ingrown hairs, so he went to a clinic in West Hollywood to get tested.
Ford said a doctor took a sample and a few days later the test came back positive for monkeypox.
Ford said the test actually just confirmed what he already knew. The spots he found no longer looked like pimples. “They quickly got bigger and fuller,” he said, and they were painful, particularly the spots in the most sensitive areas.
He noted that he also felt like he had the flu.
People with monkeypox may develop a fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, swollen lymph nodes, and tiredness. He said he also had night sweats, a sore throat and a cough.
Some of the injuries were so painful that he went back to the doctor, who gave him painkillers.
“That turned out to be really helpful because I was finally able to sleep through the night,” Ford said. “But even the painkillers didn’t make him completely numb. He just made it bearable enough that I could go back to sleep.”
In the video, Ford speaks clearly while looking directly into the camera and warning others.
Hi, my name is Matt. I have monkeypox, this shit is horrible and you don’t want it,” Ford tells the viewers of him.
Taking a tour of some of his 25 injuries, he points out his face, his arms and the spots on his abs.
“These really aren’t cute,” he says for emphasis.
While the disease is most common in central and western Africa, this current outbreak has hit countries that have seen few, if any, cases in the past.
The county confirmed in an email to CNN that it sends isolation orders to people who test positive for monkeypox. Ford said he received his email notice from the county on June 24.
Los Angeles County confirmed that some of the cases were among gay and bisexual men. Some of the men attended a handful of big events. The county said it has been working with organizers to notify attendees of a potential exhibit.
The county has already been offering the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine to people who have been exposed to other people who have had monkeypox. This week, the Biden administration announced steps to bolster its response to the outbreak, detailing plans to offer more vaccines and testing to people most at risk.
Vaccines are in limited supply, but the administration said it would expand access in areas with the highest transmission. He said 56,000 doses would be available immediately, with 296,000 vaccine doses over the next few weeks and an additional 750,000 over the summer. The administration ordered an additional 2.5 million doses.
Since Ford first told his friends he was sick with monkeypox, others have let him know that they, too, have been sick.
Concerned that many people didn’t know about monkeypox, Ford came up with the idea to make the TikTok video and share it.
“It’s been clear to me since I got it that it’s spreading rapidly,” Ford said. “That’s a big reason why I’m trying to speak up and raise awareness about it.”
The reaction to the video has been “excellent,” he said. He has been encouraged as several people have told him they didn’t know about it before and have thanked him for spreading the word.
Ford also hopes the video can help break down the stigma associated with the disease.
“There shouldn’t be any stigma,” Ford said. “It’s just a bad turn of events.”
“Many times I think that silence is the enemy,” he added. “I’m glad I can let people know and I hope more people are safe.”
This article was originally published on July 1, 2022