When should I get tested for monkeypox (mpox)?

There are several different symptoms of mpox, however you only need to get tested if you have one or both of the following:

  • Any new lesions, skin changes, spots or rashes. (Make sure to look out for lesions on your genitals or around your anus where they may be less visible).
  • Pain, discomfort, or bleeding in your butt.

If you have any other symptoms, make sure you isolate at home and seek public health advice.

 

Is testing for mpox free?

Testing for mpox is free. You will not be charged a consultation fee at your GP, after-hours, urgent-care clinic or sexual health clinic. Testing is free for anyone displaying mpox symptoms, or if you have been asked to test for mpox.

People who are not NZ residents (including international students, seasonal workers and visitors) will also be able to access mpox testing free of charge.

 

What to expect when you are tested for mpox:                

Health providers will wear PPE (personal protective equipment) when they test to avoid transmission while taking the sample. You may also be asked to wear a mask.   

A sample will be taken from your lesions. Three different swabs may be taken from different lesions to get the most accurate result. They may ask to take the top off a lesion to collect fluid.

You may also be asked to do a rectal or throat swab, or a blood test. These procedures will all be done as carefully and as quickly as possible, and there should only be some or no discomfort at all. 

The sample swabs are then sent to a lab, where they’re tested. You will be asked to isolate until your results come back. Suspected mpox tests are given priority, so you should find out your result as soon as possible.

It’s very important to get tested so that if you have contracted MPX, you can receive the correct care and support.  

 

Isolation while awaiting mpox test results: 

You are now no longer automatically required to isolate while awaiting testing results for mpox. When you get tested, your clinician will conduct a risk assessment based on your symptoms and recent whereabouts and contacts.

You will now only have to isolate if:

  • You have had sexual or intimate contact with a known case or have recently attended somewhere like a sex on site venue.
  • You have lesions in your mouth.
  • You have lesions that you can’t easily cover up e.g. on your face or hands.
  • You have cold or flu symptoms.
  • You are immunocompromised.

You will still need to do the following while you wait for your result:

  • Refrain from sexual or intimate activities.
  • Let healthcare settings know you are awaiting MPX testing results before you arrive.
  • avoid face-to-face contact with anyone at high risk of serious disease from mpox.

               

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