Italian fashion content producer Maxim Sapozhnikov spoke to Sky News about monkeypox. He updated his 160,000 Instagram followers on testing positive for the disease.
Mr Sapozhnikov said it doesn’t matter where people get monkeypox from, it just matters that they need help as he talks about feeling scared and confused.
“Honestly I’m exhausted and not feeling well, I have a bit of a fever. I did my COVID test so I’m COVID free, but yeah… just tired I don’t know what happened,” Maxim Sapozhnikov said on his TikTok video.
A day after posting this video, Mr. Sapozhnikov began to find lesions on his body.
He lowers his phone’s camera to his hand and points the lens at 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 also have something here.”
After speaking to his doctor, Maxim was encouraged to go to his local hospital in Milan for tests.
The Fashiontomax CEO and creative director is recording his medical journey for his social media followers. It shows Mr. Saphozhnikov in a secluded hospital bay. A health worker dressed head to toe in PPE can be seen taking swabs from his lesions.
Mr Saphoznikov first felt unwell on June 19. Twenty-four hours later, he had a fever that lasted two days. On June 21, he noticed two smallpox-like lesions: one on his finger and one on his chest. That same evening, he went to the emergency department of his local hospital for tests. He received the results on June 23, four days after his first illness.
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He posted the confirmation of the test results on social media.
“I have bad news,” he said.
“I have Monkeypox. As you see it’s over here and over here and other places and honestly I can’t believe this is happening to me and I’m one of 3,000 people in the world who ‘have officially received first.
Mr Saphoznikov says the confirmation of the test results left him scared and confused. He says public health messaging around the monkeypox outbreak has been poor. And that’s why he started researching the disease on the web.
“I went on the internet and saw these terrible pictures of people with injuries and for me it was really scary and also I’m alone and I don’t know who I can share this with too so I felt a little lonely and I didn’t know what to do in this situation.”
At first, Maxim was unsure about going public with his story because he was afraid of the stigma associated with the virus. His friends warned him against this saying he would become famous for “being the monkeypox man” and it would destroy his career.
But he overcame those fears and decided to post his story on social media to help inform others who might be worried about contracting the infectious disease.
He told Sky News: “There shouldn’t be any embarrassment, there shouldn’t be any stigma, no matter where that person got the disease, no matter the reason for that disease.
“It’s important that the person is sick and needs help and if the person is going to be alone and doesn’t know how to get help then it’s going to be worse for that.”
The World Health Organization says it is deeply concerned about the rise in the number of cases in Europe.
And this spike is putting pressure on sexual health clinics in Britain. These centers are often the first to come into contact with cases of monkeypox because it can present as a sexually transmitted infection.
The Association of Public Health Directors warns the pressure will mean people will suffer unnecessarily and their STIs will take longer to be treated.
ADPH President Jim McManus said: “I am concerned that sexual health clinics in some parts of the country may not be able to get people to appointments on time and this will lead to the spread of infection, not just monkeypox, but obviously things like syphilis, HIV and other things.
“And at the same time, we will have people suffering unnecessarily from infections that may become more resistant to treatment.”
Maxim Sapozhnikov has been told he needs to self-isolate until his lesions dry out, but how long that takes can vary from person to person depending on their immune system’s response to the virus. It’s usually around two weeks.
The World Health Organization has refrained from declaring this outbreak of monkeypox an international public health emergency. But if cases continue to rise, that may need to change.