This article was republished with permission from My Fabulous Disease , a blog by HIV advocate Mark S. King. You can read the original story here.The photo on Brian Thomas’ Instagram page was a typically sunny one for the social media personality, who has built a rising presence as a sex-positive gay nurse living with HIV.“Farewell Wilton Manors!” it read, alongside a photo of him grinning shirtless among the palm trees in the predominantly queer south Florida town. “What an amazing trip!

Can’t wait to come back!”It was the final post of his vacation, a busy week of sunning at the pool and hitting the nude beach and enjoying all the pleasures that Wilton Manors nightlife can provide.A few days after returning home to Baltimore, the blisters appeared.Brian was about to get an education in living with a new viral threat, joining a growing number of people worldwide who have been diagnosed with monkeypox, a sometimes debilitating infection that causes fever, abdominal cramps, and painful blisters that can scar the body.

It is also highly infectious.Within hours of his diagnosis, Brian took to his social media pages and revealed what he was going through.