Research is ongoing to understand trends in recent mpox transmission. While it’s clear mpox is spreading within GBT2Q men’s social and sexual networks, the reason GBT2Q people are most impacted is less clear.
One explanation is that GBT2Q people tend to have different sexual patterns than other groups. GBT2Q people often have a higher number of sexual partners, for example, and non-monogamous relationships are more common. This may mean the mpox virus can spread more easily in a “chain” from person to person. While many non-GBT2Q people also have a high number of sexual partners, different patterns of sex and intimacy in the population could mean the virus doesn’t spread efficiently enough to survive. This aligns with one mpox modeling study from the UK, which used data about sexual patterns to predict mpox transmission.
Currently, there isn’t clear evidence to suggest mpox transmission is linked to particular behaviours, like anal sex. The mpox virus has been found in semen, but is unclear whether this is a significant contributor to transmission. As mpox can be passed on from skin-to-skin, and other intimate contact, condoms aren’t reliable in stopping sexual transmission of mpox.