Show Your Pride and Stay Healthy, Says Health Department

The Health Department encourages New Yorkers to celebrate Pride and recommends some precautions to stay healthy and safe

There is an outbreak of monkeypox in the U.S. and other countries, including 10 orthopoxvirus/monkeypox cases in NYC

Anyone can get and spread monkeypox, however currently, gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are at higher risk of exposure due to spread in these social networks

June 13, 2022 — The Health Department today reminded all New Yorkers to celebrate Pride month, but to do so safely as social gatherings and parties continue to carry some risk. These include COVID-19, which is still circulating in New York City, as well as the presence of monkeypox. In addition, there are increasing quantities of fentanyl circulating in the recreational drug supply.

"Community is a source of emotional and physical resilience, and there are few communities more resilient in our great city than our LGBTQ+ neighbors" said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. "While so many of the health risks we’ve faced over the past two years feed off of our social connections, community is also our single greatest resource for promoting health, and as our LGBTQ+ community members have done for health and human rights, we rely on you to be the best and most credible messengers to make healthy and safe choices as easy as possible. This Pride month, we encourage everyone to celebrate community, but follow some simple precautions to make festivities safer."

New Yorkers should take some steps to have a safe and joyous Pride month. To date, presumptive monkeypox cases have been identified in New York City and there is suspected community transmission occurring in the United States. The monkeypox virus is most often spread through direct contact with a rash or sores of someone who has the virus. It can also spread through contact with clothing, bedding, and other items used by a person with monkeypox, or from respiratory droplets that can be passed in close contact. Anyone can get and spread monkeypox, but currently, most cases are among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. People who have a new or unexpected rash or sores (which may look like pimples or blisters) anywhere on their body should seek care.

In addition, all New Yorkers should make sure they are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines (including getting a booster shot when eligible) and keep wearing a face mask in public indoor settings. Finally, the Health Department reminds all New Yorkers who use drugs or drink alcohol to do so safely and in the company of others. If you plan to – or think you may use drugs – carry naloxone.

Have a safer Pride month with some easy tips:

No matter how you celebrate, help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Get vaccinated and boosted, stay home if you’re not feeling well, wear a face mask, get tested, and keep your hands clean. Consider keeping gatherings small, celebrating outdoors, or gathering virtually. To find a vaccination site, visit or call 877-VAX-4NYC (877-829-4692). If you are feeling sick you should stay home and leave only to seek appropriate care and testing. If you are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 infection, such as those with underlying health conditions, you should avoid crowded settings, particularly indoor gatherings.

Do not engage in sex or other intimate contact (such as touching, massage, kissing) if you have flu-like symptoms and especially if you have a new or unexpected rash or sores anywhere on your body including on the face, hands, feet, mouth, genitals, or anus. Avoid gatherings and direct contact with others. With the presence of monkeypox in New York City, it is crucial you seek care as soon as you notice a rash or sore. If you don’t have a health care provider, visit the NYC Health Map or call 311 to be connected to care.

If you are going to have sex, make sure to practice safer sex. Use condoms and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV and other safer sex tools, as appropriate. HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is emergency medicine for people who are HIV-negative and may have been exposed to HIV. If you think you were exposed to HIV, call the NYC PEP hotline at 844-3-PEPNYC (844-373-7692), or go immediately to a clinic or emergency room and ask for emergency PEP.

The Health Department’s Sexual Health Clinics and telemedicine hotline, offer low- to no-cost services for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, for anyone ages 12 or older, regardless of immigration status (parental consent is not required). The Sexual Health Clinic Hotline is available at 347-396-7959, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information on the Sexual Health Clinics and Hotline, including services, locations, and hours of operation, visit NYC Health Clinics.

If you are going to drink alcohol, decide ahead of time how much you plan to consume and how you plan to get home safely. Use a designated driver, public transportation, or taxi. Eat dinner first and enjoy snacks throughout the evening. Pace yourself and drink non-alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated. Be mindful of the medications you are taking and whether they may increase the effect of alcohol on your body.

If you are going to use drugs, avoid using alone. Create an overdose safety plan with someone who knows you are going to use and who could call 911 in case of an overdose or emergency. If you are going to use alone, call the “Never Use Alone” hotline at 800-484-3731 before using so someone can monitor for safety by phone. If you do use drugs use a small amount first.

Avoid mixing drugs or mixing drugs and alcohol. Using different drugs together, including alcohol, increases your risk of overdose. If you do mix, go slow and use a small amount first.

Whether or not you use drugs, carry naloxone, a safe medication that can reverse an overdose from heroin and other opioids, including fentanyl. If you are using drugs, leave naloxone out where others can find it.

In recent years fentanyl—a potent opioid—has been identified in cocaine, heroin, ketamine, and methamphetamine. Fentanyl has also been identified in benzodiazepines (such as Xanax or Klonopin) and opioid painkillers (such as oxycodone or Vicodin acquired from non-pharmaceutical sources). Fentanyl poses an overdose risk to anyone who uses drugs containing fentanyl. Individuals who lack tolerance for opioids are at even higher risk of overdose if their drugs contain fentanyl.



MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Lanza / Patrick Gallahue