Australia’s first publicly known monkeypox patient has revealed he contracted the virus through a foreign affair while on vacation in the US.
Sydneysider Jack Barlow broke the news in a hilarious TikTok clip dressed as former NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian giving a Covid-style press conference.
He told The Project on Tuesday that he wanted to talk about what he was going through to dispel some of the myths surrounding the potentially deadly disease that causes flu symptoms and skin legions.
It is spread by skin-to-skin contact and body fluids and is now registered in 100 countries, including 93 where it has historically not been discovered.
“I actually discovered it on a single vacation in Provincetown, Massachusetts,” he said.
“It’s just something any normal 26-year-old abroad will do and it was actually on the same day that some of my symptoms started.”
Mr Barlow’s symptoms were relatively mild, but he decided to undergo a three-week isolation period to ensure he did not transmit the disease to anyone else.
But instead of feeling sorry for himself, Mr. Harlow decided he wanted to start a conversation.
“I showed up on TikTok dressed as Gladys and did a morning press,” he said.
“I could have been miserable about myself or I could have done something, that’s how I feel about it.
“I never needed an excuse to dress up as Gladys.”
In his video, Mr. Harlow waddles out to announce a new case of monkey pox, identified as a “handsome, red gay man returning from the United States.”
Mr Barlow announced he had the virus in a TikTok video in which he dressed up as former NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian and made a press-style morning announcement
“I would further like to announce that I was the positive case and as a result it breaks my heart to say it, I have no choice but to enforce a strict 21 day shutdown,” Mr Harlow said in the statement. video .
But Mr Harlow said the reality of monkey pox was much tougher than what he showed in his video.
“There’s a tremendous amount of fear coming over you,” he said.
“I had just returned (from the US), I had seen some of my friends – what if I accidentally gave it to them?”
He added that while he is proud to have started a meaningful discussion about monkeypox, it has not been easy to make his story public.
“I still think I’m the only person in Australia who is publicly known about it and it hasn’t done wonders for my love life,” he said.
‘Hopefully we can break the stigma and people can talk about it’