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25th Aug 2022

Man tests positive for monkeypox, HIV and Covid all at once

April Curtin

As if post-holiday blues could get any worse

An unlucky Italian man has become the first known person in the world to test positive for monkeypox, HIV and coronavirus all at the same time.

The 36-year-old had been enjoying a holiday in Spain before he developed symptoms including a fever, sore throat, headaches and swollen lymph nodes in his groin area.

According to a new Journal of Infection report, the 36-year-old had sex with men without using condoms on his five-day trip to Spain.

It was his Covid symptoms which first became apparent on June 29. Three days later, the man, who had previously been vaccinated with two doses of Pfizer, tested positive for the virus.

A rash started developing on the man’s arm that same afternoon, with painful vesicles emerging on his body. These continued to spread and became puss-filled, so he rushed to A&E in Catania.

The man was transferred to the Infectious Diseases unit on July 5, where he tested positive for monkeypox. Monkeypox has since been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation, with outbreaks in more than 70 countries.

In the third and final unlucky turn for the man, he was told that he had also tested positive for HIV.

There is no cure for HIV, but the man was put on treatment for the virus.

By July 11, the 36-year-old was still testing positive for monkeypox but had no new lesions, so was allowed to head home and isolate there instead.

Researchers said that, given this is the first known case of someone testing positive monkeypox, HIV and Covid at the same time, there is still not enough evidence to support the idea that the combination makes the patient’s condition worse.

But researchers did say that, given the ongoing circulation of Covid and increase in monkeypox cases, healthcare systems must be aware of patients being diagnosed with both, and promote appropriate diagnostic tests in high-risk subjects, “which are essential to containment as there is no widely available treatment.”

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