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Tips for a safer Decadence

Southern Decadence runs from September 1st – 5th

Getting ready for Southern Decadence but have concerns about monkeypox (MPV)? There are many ways to have fun while limiting your risk. It’s the first time we’ll get to celebrate after two years of COVID cancellations. Let’s look at some ways to get decadent while staying safer.

(A colorful version of this guide is available to share on Facebook and Instagram)

Get your vax.

Limiting intimate contact and getting vaccinated are the best ways to protect yourself from MPX. Schedule a vaccine appointment with CrescentCare by calling 504-821-2601 or keep an eye out for popup vaccination events by the New Orleans Health Department (list here) and others.

The Jynneos vaccine is two doses spaced 28 days apart. We reach the highest levels of protection two weeks after the second dose. Most of us won’t be fully protected in time for Decadence. We should do what we can to protect ourselves and each other.

Get tested.

Do you have new sores, rashes, or lesions? Call your healthcare provider to get tested ASAP. This involves a quick swab of your sores and it will take some time to get the results back from the lab. It’s best to stay in until you hear back.

Keep in mind that the current strain may look like pimples, herpes, or other common skin conditions. Sores can show up anywhere on your body, but especially near the hands, groin, anus, chest, and mouth.

Limit your exposure.

If you plan to go out, enjoy outdoor events like the parade on Sunday, Sept. 4 at 2 pm at the Golden Lantern. Catch up with friends and meet new ones while outdoors at beer busts or bar hopping. Consider the elevated risk if you’ll be in crowded spaces.

Keep it covered.

MPX spreads through skin-to-skin contact. It’s summer in the South. It’s hot. But if you’re going to be in a packed area like on a crowded street, party, bar, or dance floor, consider keeping your shirt or gear on. No one knows costumes like New Orleans. Find creative ways to be sexy while keeping covered.

Limit your partners.

Kissing and intimate touching are high-risk activities, especially in group and anonymous situations. If you’re going to have sex, consider choosing your trusted partner/s before-hand, discussing the precautions you will take, and limiting contact to each other. Keep an eye on each other if you’ll be under the influence.

Stay alert.

Stay hydrated, especially if you’re drinking in the heat. Make sure your friends are staying hydrated too! If you’ll be using drugs, assume that they may contain fentanyl or other opioids. Get fentanyl test strips (available on Amazon), carry Narcan and know how to use it, and never use alone.

Take a raincheck.

Feeling unsafe? Unsure about sores on yourself or potential partners? Take a raincheck. Get those digits. Add them on Instagram. Keep the conversation going and reconnect once y’all have had time to get fully vaccinated and protected.

Get vaxxed after potential exposure.

Getting vaccinated within four days of potential exposure may help prevent you from getting MPX. Getting vaccinated within 14 days may make it less severe.