Disclaimer: This story contains explicit content
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A possible Monkeypox-spreading event may be coming to South Padre Island.
CBS 4’s lead investigator Derick Garcia looked into red flags raised by anonymous LGBTQ+ community members regarding the virus.
While there have been misconceptions about the way the virus is contracted, Monkeypox can target anyone and is not a sexually transmitted disease. However, data shows gay men, bisexual men and men who have sex with men make up the majority of monkeypox cases.
The LGBTQ+ community’s concerns were raised after the announcement of an event, called Wet Oso Weekend. The event is a sexually explicit gathering primarily for what are referred to as “bears” in the gay community.
“A bear would be somebody who’s a little bigger more, maybe a little hairier or maybe older or younger it doesn’t matter it’s that body type,” Albert Capistran, one of the coordinators for the gay event on South Padre Island said.
Set to attend are DJs and gay adult film stars, including Silver Steele.
Garcia spoke with an adult film star who had Monkeypox and is set to attend. The adult film star aims to share his message with fellow gay men and anyone who is not taking the virus seriously.
“I have been in the adult gay entertainment industry doing film, live performances and the like for four years now,” Steele said.
He is an influencer and travels a lot but going around most are the painful photos of when he caught Monkeypox and how long it took to recover.
“I noticed that I just had some little white heads under here under my chin, I thought maybe I just, you know, shaved against the grain too hard,” Steele said. “But, by Friday, my lymph nodes were swollen and my throat was sore. My body was aching a little bit. So, I already kind of knew, like, oh, lord, I know what this is.”
Steele reported having fever and night sweats. But, it progressed to the lesions becoming painful in the next week.
“I have one on my tongue and a couple in the back of my throat,” he said. “I actually lost, from start to finish, about 15 pounds.”
The Houston-based performer is vaccinated now due to the city’s larger quantity of the vaccine.
In the Rio Grande Valley, a meager 100 doses were spread between Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy Counties.
Peter Coronado, with the Valley AIDS Council, said the doses are expected to go fast.
“I wouldn’t be surprised between today and half day tomorrow we’ll go through it,” Coronado said.
With so few vaccines, the Valley AIDS Council is streamlining who qualifies and creating a waiting list.
CBS 4 INVESTIGATES spoke exclusively with the director of the AIDS Council, Wally Cantu, on the event and the red flags raised.
“That’s why we’re encouraging people who may be there to call and think about getting on the list,” Cantu said.
Sex workers like Steele fit the criteria to get a dose. While he is a celebrity, other sex workers who work more discreetly are in the higher priority pool, along with anyone who has new sexual partners.
There are no signs of the bear gathering being canceled. Last year around 200 bears attended. So far, ticket sales show over 400 are set to attend.
“I definitely don’t advocate for living your life in fear,” Steele said. “But, I think it is important to give this virus the vigilance that it deserves.”
With the event set for Sept. 16 more are expected to get tickets.