By Jessica Munger, Program Manager, Silver State Equality

Queer Vegas, I love you. This city is full of vibrant and gorgeous LGBTQ+ folks and as the weather heats up, we’re shedding our layers, embracing the sun, and having more skin-to-skin contact than during colder months. That means it’s also a great time to remind everyone to get your MPOX vaccines (you need two to be covered) so you can rub all up on each other this summer without hesitation.

MPOX is related to the virus that causes smallpox and sometimes shows up as flu-like symptoms and as sores and lesions. It’s not an STI but can be transmitted through all the fun stuff – like skin-to-skin contact, swapping bodily fluids, sharing sheets and kissing. It’s totally preventable with the two-dose vaccine, but you have to remember to go back for your second dose a few weeks later for it to be effective.

Jessica Munger

Pride month is the kick-off to summer, which brings pride events galore, pool parties, raves, concerts, games, and doing what Vegas does best – gathering! People from all over the country and the world travel to our city to have summer fun with us so we need to be aware of what that can mean for our health and safety. Our community did a fantastic job quelling the MPOX threats last year, but in some parts of the United States, rates are climbing again.

The way our community responded to the last uptick in MPOX cases demonstrates a rich history of helping each other through health crises. But we also sometimes struggle with stigma, discrimination and other challenges accessing, trusting, and receiving healthcare. Silver State Equality and other LGBTQ+ serving organizations are doing their best to train vaccine providers to better serve our community because we deserve stigma-free, accessible healthcare. Let’s quash this MPOX season by getting our free vaccines so we can live our best lives this summer and beyond. If you’re not sure about your vaccine history, you can find that information at izrecord.nv or chat with your healthcare provider.

And as always, let’s remember the immunocompromised and high-risk people in our community who face the brunt of these types of illnesses.  While most people who contract MPOX will have a mild case, transmitting it to someone with comorbidities or a compromised immune system can have lasting and complicated effects. According to, 40 percent of those diagnosed with MPOX in the US are also living with HIV.  As you probably know, in general LGBTQ+ folks have higher rates of comorbidities than the general public, so let’s keep the risk of transmission as low as possible!

MPOX vaccines are the most reliable and effective way to avoid getting the disease, but in general, good hygiene can also help reduce MPOX rates, so keep washing your hands, talking with your partners about symptoms and vaccines, avoid touching rashes or sores, and avoid sharing toothbrushes, towels and other personal items.

If you think you might have contracted MPOX or have symptoms you’re not sure about, pause behavior that could spread the viral disease and contact your healthcare provider or the Southern Nevada Health District to get tested and/or treated. Let’s keep our MPOX rates low this summer and care for each other by getting tested and vaccinated.

Vaccines are available at several places around the city through the Southern Nevada Health District. And every Friday, The LGBTQ Center (at 401 S Maryland Parkway) offers the vaccine at its Community Health Center from 8am-2pm

At this point most people are eligible for the vaccine, and if you’re reading this, it’s safe to assume you are. So, make an appointment and set a calendar reminder to get your second dose so we can keep ourselves safe. We have parties and protests to attend and the last thing we need is MPOX ruining our fun and our mission.

Check out and for more information or to talk with someone about your questions.

Las Vegas PRIDE Magazine - Issue 46

This article was originally published as a digital exclusive for the 2023 August/September Issue of Las Vegas PRIDE Magazine, which can be read in its original format here.