the monkeypox chronicles.

or, how i told everyone i knew about monkeypox and then literally contracted it.

Kyle Planck
26 min readJul 11, 2022


this story contains slightly nsfw content and should not be read if you are not at least 18 years of age or if you think of me as, like, a sweet innocent baby angel. after the intro, it’s divided into three major sections: first, a chronological description of my disease course; second, my thoughts and ramblings on the matter; and third, a description of what i plan to do next.

feel free to choose your own adventure.

i swear this story is true and that my coworkers can corroborate it: as early as mid-may of this year, i was waltzing around the lab talking to anyone who would listen about “monkeypox,” a relatively rare tropical disease with a wholly inaccurate name, as monkeys are not its primary animal reservoir. it was causing an outbreak among men who have sex with men in various countries across europe, with unprecedented levels of person-to-person transmission that defied established medical knowledge about the disease. i had read that european health authorities were speculating that viral spread had occurred at large gatherings like raves and parties, and they were realizing that it was easily transmitted through close, usually sexual, contact. i had already scoured the new england journal of medicine article that chronicled the case of this outbreak’s first confirmed monkeypox patient in the u.s., and i shared the photos on my social media so people knew what to look out for. i felt that this was important because the cdc information page only had ~4 pictures of monkeypox lesions and they all looked like they were taken on a motorola razr.

“i’m worried about monkeypox,” i said to my ex-boyfriend. “what’s monkeypox?” he replied.

“i’m worried about monkeypox,” i said to my mom. “what’s monkeypox?” she asked.

“i’m worried about monkeypox,” i said to my therapist. “what’s monkeypox?” she inquired.

was i the only person thinking about this??? a couple other science gays on twitter were the only ones who didn’t make me feel like i was overreacting.

with all of this information, the wheels inside my little gay brain started turning. the illness is known to have an incubation period (the time between infection and the beginning of symptomatic disease) on the scale of weeks. i’ve been seeing a lot of social media posts from people in my…