While monkeypox cases are declining in the United States, a new government report shows that patients with weakened immune systems, especially those living with HIV, have been hit particularly hard by the virus.
Even after taking antiviral medication for monkeypox, those with untreated HIV were more likely to end up in the hospital, the researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.
Since May, about 28,000 monkeypox cases have been reported in this country, and 12 people who were hospitalized with the virus have died.
In the report, CDC scientists described the cases of 57 patients treated between mid-August and Oct. 10.
All of the patients had severe lesions caused by the virus, including 39 people who experienced lesions in their eyes, mouth and other mucous membranes.
Nearly all the patients who were hospitalized were Black, 54 were men, three were pregnant and nearly 25% were homeless. Two of the patients were undergoing chemotherapy, according to the report. Another three had received organ transplants. About one-third of these 57 patients were treated in intensive care.
RELATED: U.S. Monkeypox Cases Are Declining
While about 5% to 10% of monkeypox patients are admitted to the hospital, those with HIV are more likely to be hospitalized, the Washington Post reported.
Of the monkeypox-associated deaths, six are still being investigated, according to the report.
The virus is typically affecting men who have sex with men in the current outbreak, causing painful lesions even when not severe. Those with HIV and people of color make up a disproportionate share of patients. About 38% of monkeypox cases were in someone with HIV, according to a review of 2,000 cases this summer, the Post reported.
Monkeypox in HIV patients
Doctors should test for HIV in all sexually active patients who they suspect have monkeypox. They should consider