Metro Weekly

Gay Porn Star Posts “Timeline” of Monkeypox Lesions to Instagram

Silver Steele says he wants to show others what to look for so they can take care of their own health.

Silver Steele – Photo: @therealsilversteele, via Instagram

Silver Steele, a gay adult entertainer who was diagnosed with monkeypox, posted a “timeline” composite image to his Instagram account.

It documents the growth, development, and various stages of healing of lesions that appeared on his face.

The Houston-based Steele posted the composite picture on Aug. 4, documenting what the lesions looked like throughout the month of July. He posted the graphic photos to help educate others about what the symptoms of the disease look like.

“My goal with this is not to gross anyone out,” Steele wrote in the description. “Not everyone displays symptoms the exact same way, but I’ve been told by more than one professional that my case is a ‘clinically perfect’ example and it’s being used in CDC demonstrations and medical journals.”

Steele believes he contracted the virus after attending a July 4th party, and first noticed the lesions when tiny blisters broke out on his chin on July 11.

He initially dismissed the bumps as “razor burn,” according to Insider. But as the lesions began to grow bigger and take on a yellowish tinge, he began to suspect monkeypox.

Four days after he first noticed the lesions, he woke up feeling under the weather, with swollen lymph nodes and pain when swallowing.

His doctor confirmed he had symptoms of monkeypox. That night, he experienced fever, chills, and night sweats. After the flu-like symptoms subsided, his lesions began to hurt.

“There were times when I was literally just sitting there watching TV and all of a sudden it’s just like knives stabbing you,” he told Insider. “The pain was pretty intense.”

After being diagnosed, he spent three weeks with six lesions on his chin, and documented their progress every few days, until they finally began to clear up around Aug. 1. The lesions were at their worst 11 days after he first noticed the bumps.

In the comments section of his post, Steele wrote that the pain was so bad at the peak of his infection that he was prescribed Vicodin. He said he attempted to do contact tracing, but still isn’t sure exactly when or from whom he contracted the virus. 

During that time, Steele also developed strep throat, which made it difficult for him to eat, resulting in him losing 14.5 pounds over the month of July. While being examined by a doctor for the strep throat, he nearly passed out.

“He took the tongue depressor away and all of a sudden it was like: ‘Oh my gosh!’ And everything started to go black,” he said.

Steele was given TPOXX, the only currently available treatment for people who are infected with monkeypox. However, the treatment can only be given with special permission from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which means patients can suffer for days while their doctors struggle to navigate through bureaucratic red tape.

Steele wasn’t granted access to TPOXX until it was too late for him to benefit. As a result, he developed lesions on his hands and legs, although those were less painful than the ones on his face.

Steele has attempted to use his own experience to educate his followers about the disease, encourage people to get vaccinated, and to encourage compassion for others who are suffering from monkeypox.

“These lesions can be very painful, others have them on their genitals, or anorectal area, making going to the bathroom excruciating,” Steele wrote in the description of a July 25 video post updating his fans about his progress.

“If you know someone suffering from this, reach out and check on them because they may be feeling really alone. A kind word goes a long way.

“This is a droplet virus so it spreads by kissing, sharing drinks, or even touching someone who has lesions/blisters on their skin!” he added. “Use lots of hand sanitizer, wave hello instead of hugs and kisses, and be cautious at crowded events, especially ones where people are sweating!”

In his Aug. 4 post, he also included a second picture of himself with the lesions cleared up, and only some pink discoloration in the spots where the lesions had once been.

“The second photo is me all smiles yesterday, free of the contagious period,” he wrote. “Tomorrow I see my doctor to get the ‘all-clear’ and get a haircut so I can feel human again! Feel free to share this image. Spread the word, not the virus!”

Silver Steele showing his lesions – Photo: @therealsilversteele, via Instagram

Many of Steele’s fans offered well-wishes on his posts about monkeypox, and praised him for sharing information about his own experience with the larger public. 

“Thank you so much for sharing. I am so sorry for the hardships and pain you’ve gone through,” one wrote on the Aug. 4 post. Steele replied, “It’s been worth it because of all the good I’ve done. So many people have been helped by my story and tons of people I know have been vaccinated.”

“So proud of you for sharing this vulnerable experience. I’m glad you are on the mend! You’ve done amazing work spreading the word and educating people,” wrote another Instagram user.

“Can’t thank you enough for sharing your journey, handsome,” wrote a third.

Steele has since posted other pictures to his Instagram account, saying he hopes to have minimal scarring on his face. He has since received the monkeypox vaccine, and is encouraging other gay and bisexual men to follow suit.

The United States recently declared monkeypox a national health emergency, allowing federal agencies to take more drastic steps in terms of developing vaccines and drugs to prevent or treat monkeypox, and allowing access to emergency funding. 

According to the CDC, there have been 39,434 confirmed cases of monkeypox throughout the world, with 13,517 of those occurring in the United States. About 98% of cases have occurred among gay and bisexual men or other men who have sex with men.

The disease is primarily spread by skin-to-skin contact with infected lesions or materials, such as bedding or clothing, that have touched lesions, or through respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact.

In many cases, sexual activities have acted as the perfect vector for the disease, making it easier to transmit the virus due to the skin-to-skin contact and contact with mucous membranes that occurs during periods of prolonged intimacy.

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