Monkeypox transmission

german version / auf deutsch

The main transmission route for MPX virus ("monkeypox virus") is close and prolonged skin-to-skin contact (e.g. when cuddling or having sex), especially contact with the skin changes (rash, blisters, pustules, wounds, scabs). We have compiled all the important information on the transmission of monkeypox here.

What you need to know about monkeypox and transmission

  • The main transmission route for MPX virus ("monkeypox virus") is close and prolonged skin-to-skin contact, e.g. when cuddling or having sex.
  • Avoid contact with skin lesions.
  • Condoms do not protect against infection, but they can reduce the risk of particularly painful courses in the anal and genital areas.
different Monkeypox

Illustration of different monkeypox pustules (Photo: UKHSA).

How is MPX virus (“monkeypox virus”) transmitted?

Normally, "monkeypox virus" (MPXV) is transmitted from infected animals to humans in regions where it is particularly common, through bites, body fluids, or through consumption.

MPX virus is transmitted from person to person mainly through close and prolonged skin-to-skin contact, especially through contact with the skin lesions (rash, blisters, pustules, wounds, scabs).

The fluid in the blisters and from the sores that develop after the blisters burst, as well as the scabs that form over them, are particularly contagious.

Therefore, the virus can also be transmitted through objects used during sex (e.g. sex toys) or through contact with contaminated textiles (e.g. clothing, bed linen, towels).

In the current outbreak, the main entry points for the virus are the mucous membranes involved in sex (anal region, penis, oral cavity).

Transmission of monkeypox during sex

MPX is not strictly speaking an STI. However, simply because of the close skin-to-skin contact, transmission of the "monkeypox virus" during sex is possible, for example when cuddling or kissing and also by sharing sex toys.

Since the skin changes can occur anywhere on the body, condoms do not protect against an infection with "monkeypox", but they can reduce the risk of particularly painful symptoms in the anal and genital areas.

If I have MPX, when am I no longer contagious?

Only when all wounds have healed, the scab has fallen off and a new layer of skin has formed are transmissions no longer possible. This can take several weeks.

How can I protect myself from monkeypox (MPX)?

The most important measures to reduce the risk of transmission are:

  • After close skin-to-skin contact with people with MPX, you can be vaccinated to prevent disease or a severe course. Preventive vaccination is also possible. Further information:
  • Pay attention to skin changes on yourself and others and avoid skin and mucous membrane contact with them (rashes, blisters, wounds, scabs) as far as possible.
  • Do not share objects (e.g. dildos and other sex toys) during sex.

In the case of sexual transmission, the pathogens often lead to very painful symptoms at the points of entry (especially the mouth, penis/genital region, anal region). Condoms reduce the risk.

The risk of "monkeypox" is further reduced if you avoid contact with objects and textiles that have been in contact with skin lesions for a long time.

MPXV ("monkeypox virus") can remain contagious outside the body for long periods of time.


Robert Koch Institute (RKI) - Only german