This information is meant to reduce the risk of spreading monkeypox, for both participants and facilitating team, as well as people we contact after the gathering.
This page is created by Wilrieke Sophia for the company Exploring Deeper, registered since 01-01-2011 under number 51594382 in The Netherlands, classified as SBI 86.91.9 ‘overige paramedische praktijken’ and SBI 85.59.9 ‘Studiebegeleiding, vorming en onderwijs (rest)’ offering workshops, education & teacher trainings in personal growth involving tantra, touch, massage, and dance.
This protocol is written to provide clarity for workshops under the (partial) names of Cuddle Workshop, Exploring Kink, Exploring Tantra, Kinky Tantra, Play Party, and Navigating Intimacy, which are all based on yoga, talking, dance (all individual practices at a distance), and massage, and will be adapted according to current RIVM guidelines.
What is it?
Written by André for Tailbone, August, 2022
Monkeypox is a type of smallpox virus. In May 2022, the disease was diagnosed among people living in Europe, and since, has been spreading in Europe and other areas. On July 23 2022 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the monkeypox outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. According to WHO, the virus transmits via close, often skin-to-skin contact. And although there has been a prevalence of cases among men who have sex with men (MSM), health-care professional have detected monkeypox cases in women and children.
The following map from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) outlines the geographic distribution of reported Monkeypox cases, within the European Union, from the beginning of the outbreak, until August 8 2022.
What symptoms to look for?
The CDC has identified the main monkeypox symptoms as being a rash, which can be located on or near the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus, but also other areas, such as hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth. Initially, the rash can look like pimples or blisters and may feel painful or itchy. Other symptoms that might be experienced include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches, headache and respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough).
Symptoms become noticeable within a period of 3 weeks, after exposure to the virus.
How does it transmit?
In the WHO’s Science in 5 Podcast Andy Seale describes how the virus is transmitted via “skin to skin contact, kissing or touching infected materials like bed linen”. And, according to the CDC the virus can spread from the onset of symptoms until the rash has healed and all scabs have fallen off. A period which typically lasts a period of 2 to 4 weeks.
How can it be prevented?
Similarly to what we have seen with Coronavirus, the strategies for the prevention of monkeypox include testing, quarantine, and vaccination.
If experiencing typical symptoms, avoid close contact or sex with others, until tested. In case of a positive result, isolation for a period of 2 to 4 weeks is advised.
In the Dutch context, the GGD, advises those experiencing symptoms related to monkeypox to call their family doctor or the GGD local facilities to arrange a test.
With a limited number of vaccines available, the Dutch GGD has started a monkeypox vaccination program, but vaccines are only available through invitation and are limited to:
- MSM, transgender and MSM sex workers participating in the nationwide HIV-PrEP scheme and those on the waiting list.
- MSM, transgender people and MSM sex workers with HIV.
- MSM, transgenders and MSM sex workers who are known to the Centers for Sexual Health (CSG)
- RIVM: Monkeypox Cases in the Netherlands
- ReidAboutSex: Reid’s Favorite Monkeypox Resources
- WHO Science in 5 Podcast Episode 76 Monkeypox Who is at risk
- Watt Is Your Safeword podcast: EP 132 – Everything MonkeyPox with Doctor Carlton
- GGD Amsterdam: Testing for monkeypox – GGD Amsterdam
- GGD Rotterdam: Monkeypox
- poster Monkeypox A4 NL (source: Outreachmateriaal Monkeypox | Man tot Man)
- poster Monkeypox A4 EN (source: Outreachmateriaal Monkeypox | Man tot Man)
What this means for the event you plan to attend:
1. Determine your health risk and make sure whether you can take the risk of gathering.
2. To lower risks, you can come with someone who you form a household with, or to come alone.
3. You can minimize switching partners, or form a closed ‘bubble’ of two or three people in total. We will not check whether you do this. If you prefer to switch partners multiple times, that is your choice and responsibility.
4. You can only come to our gatherings when you do not have monkeypox, do not have members in your household diagnosed with monkeypox in the last two weeks, or when you have monkeypox-related symptoms like a rash. Other symptoms that might be experienced include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches, headache and respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough).
5. By entering the workshop space you confirm to take your own responsibility for your choices and consequences thereof to your health.
6. You need to have given us your real name and email address before entering the location in case we need to contact you for reasons related to monkeypox.
Responsibility of the organizer, Exploring Deeper
Exploring Deeper consciously chooses venues for their gatherings. Venues need to be large enough to guarantee each participant can keep 1,5 meters distance when they choose so. There needs to be capacity for ventilation (enough windows/doors/mechanical ventilation system).
2. Team requirements
For team members and other people present during the workshop, the same measures apply as for participants.
- We wash our hands regularly, and at least each time after visiting the bathroom.
- There is hand-sanitiser available in the bathrooms and throughout the workshop spaces, which we urge you to use.
- At all times during the gathering, it is possible to keep 1,5 meters distance.
6. Overview of close contacts
- Although we recommend you to only touch people you form a household with, and/or to limit the number of people that you touch during the gatherings, we can and will not check this.
- Each participant is requested to document which people you have been in ‘close contact’ with during the gathering, e.g. with whom you shared touch for more than 15 minutes.
- You may need this information when someone has been tested positive for monkeypox.
Responsibility for the participants and facilitating team members
Every participant and facilitating team member takes responsibility for their own behaviour, and commits to the following agreements:
1. Before signing up, you inform yourself and read the Terms and Agreements of Exploring Deeper. You inform yourself about, and understand the requirements to meet to attend the event, also in the case government measures may change in the time between you purchasing your ticket and the event itself.
2. You refrain from high-risk activities for two weeks before and after the event. This means you stay away from people with monkeypox and monkeypox-like symptoms. You limit physical contact with other people to a safe minimum. You are conscious about your use of drugs and alcohol, as this can alter your behaviour.
3. You don’t come to the gathering when you, one of the people in your household, or someone you have been in contact with (even briefly) has been tested positively for monkeypox in the two weeks before the event. When you have symptoms and you suspect monkeypox, you see a doctor and refrain from coming.
4. When you start to show symptoms during the gathering, get in touch with a facilitating team member right away. There is a chance you have to leave the gathering.
5. You are aware that gathering in a group inevitably entails a risk, despite all measurements. You are willing to take that risk. You are also aware that you take part in shared responsibility for not spreading monkeypox outside of the gathering. Participating in this gathering influences your whereabouts two to three weeks before and after the gathering.
6. You will not make Exploring Deeper liable in case of contracting monkeypox during one of our gatherings.
7. When you get symptoms within three weeks after the gathering, you see a doctor. When there is a positive result, you will share that immediately with Wilrieke.
8. All our gatherings are sober. That means that the use of alcohol, drugs, or other mind-altering substances is prohibited at all times. We will remove you from the space when you seem under influence.
9. Note: some gatherings take place in a venue on the 2nd or 3rd floor. There may not be a functioning elevator. We are available to help people who have trouble with stairs up by lifting them. Upon your request, we can wear face masks, gloves or use other safety measures.
10. You will provide us with correct information about your health and test results.
Operation procedure before/during/after the gathering
1. You will receive an email with current information about 5-10 days before the gathering.
2. You may receive another email with the current state about 1-2 days before the gathering if needed.
3. On the day before the gathering you reflect on the questions from the email you received, checking whether you have symptoms of monkeypox.
4. There will be a team member at the door, asking you about possible symptoms.
5. Upon entering the venue, you disinfect your hands.
6. You will receive a final email within three weeks when someone present at the event was diagnosed with monkeypox within this timeframe.
For all our gatherings, our usual terms and conditions for cancelling apply. Changing government measures are not a valid reason for a refund. Exploring Deeper does not offer refunds for last-minute cancellations because of sickness, whether this is cold, flu, monkeypox, or Covid. You are free to sell your ticket to someone else and inform Wilrieke. Check the terms and conditions for the full refund policy.
Changing government measures are considered a circumstance beyond the organizer’s control. The Dutch legislation says: (Article 6:75 BW) “een tekortkoming de schuldenaar niet kan worden toegerekend, indien zij niet te wijten is aan zijn schuld, noch krachtens wet, rechtshandeling of in het verkeer geldende opvattingen voor zijn rekening komt”, meaning that the organizer (Exploring Deeper) cannot be held accountable for policy changes made by the government.
Despite all measurements taken it is possible that you will get monkeypox during our gatherings. Upon entering the workshop venue you state that you understand and accept this risk, and you state that you will not make Exploring Deeper liable for spreading monkeypox.
Last update: August 15, 2022
Wilrieke Sophia/Exploring Deeper, KvK nr 51594382