The Italian fashion content producer Maxim Sapozhnikov has spoken to Sky News about having monkeypox. He has updated his 160,000 Instagram followers on testing positive for the disease.
Mr Sapozhnikov said it doesn’t matter where people get monkeypox from, but it just matters that they need help as he speaks out about feeling scared and confused.
“I’m honestly exhausted and I don’t feel well, I have a bit of a fever. I did my test of COVID so I’m COVID free, but yeah… I’m just tired, I don’t know what’s happening,” Maxim Sapozhnikov said on his TikTok video.
A day after posting that video Mr Sapozhnikov started to find lesions across his body.
He lowers his phone’s camera to his hand and points the lens towards a boil on his finger.
The Italian fashion content producer adds: “I noticed that I – I don’t know if you can see it – but I have this pimple that it’s strange that it appears in this part of the body, and also here: I have also here something.”
After speaking to his doctor Maxim was encouraged to go to his local hospital in Milan for tests.
The CEO and creative director of Fashiontomax records his medical journey for his social media followers. It shows Mr Saphozhnikov in an isolated hospital bay. A health worker dressed head to toe in PPE can be seen taking swabs of his lesions.
Mr Saphoznikov first felt unwell on the 19 June. Twenty fours later he had a fever that lasted for two days. On 21 June he noticed two pox-like lesions: one on his finger and the other on his chest. That same evening he went to the emergency department of his local hospital for tests. He was given the results on the 23 June, four days after he first felt unwell.
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He posted the confirmation of the test results on social media.
“I have bad news, he says.
“I’ve got Monkeypox. As you see, it’s over here and over here, and in some other places and honestly I can’t believe it’s happening with me and I’m one of the 3,000 people in the world who got it officially first.
Mr Saphoznikov says the confirmation of the test results left him feeling scared and confused. He says the public health messaging around the monkeypox outbreak has been poor. And that is why he began researching more about the disease on the web.
“I went to the internet and I saw these terrible pictures of the people with the lesions and for me it was really scary and also I’m by myself and I don’t know who I can share that with as well so I felt a bit alone and I didn’t know what I should do in this situation.”
At first Maxim was not sure whether to go public with his story because he was afraid of the stigma associated with having the virus. His friends warned him against it saying he would become famous for ‘being the monkeypox man’ and that it would destroy his career.
But he overcame these fears and decided to post his story on social media to help inform other people who might be worried about contracting the infectious disease.
He told Sky News: “There shouldn’t be embarrassment, there shouldn’t be stigma, it doesn’t matter where this person got the disease, it doesn’t matter for the reason of this disease.
“It matters that the person is sick and they need help and if the person is going to be by himself and doesn’t know how to get help then he’s going to be worse for this.”
The World Health Organisation says it is deeply concerned by the number of cases increasing across Europe.
And this spike is putting pressure on sexual health clinics in Britain. These centres are often the first to come into contact with cases of monkeypox as it can present like a sexually transmitted infection.
The Association Of Directors Of Public Health is warning the pressure will mean people will suffer needlessly and their STIs will take longer to treat.
Jim McManus, ADPH President, said: “My fear will be that sexual health clinics in some parts of the country will be unable to offer people appointments in time and that will result in spread of infection, not just monkeypox but obviously things like syphilis, HIV and other things.
“And at the same time, we will have people who are needlessly suffering infections that may become more resistant to treatment.”
Maxim Sapozhnikov has been told he should self-isolate until his lesions have dried out but the amount of time this takes can vary from person to person depending on their immune system’s response to the virus. This is usually around two weeks.
The World Health Organisation has stopped short of declaring this Monkeypox outbreak as an international public health emergency. But if cases continue to rise that may have to change.