Sexual health worker reveals horrific battle with monkeypox that left him in hospital – Mirror Online

A man ended up in hospital for weeks with monkeypox after noticing horrific lesions on his face, days after mistaking his symptoms for long Covid.

Harun Tulunay first noticed that he was unwell when he was struck with a fever in the second week of June, after recently contracting coronavirus.

But when his Covid test came back negative and his fever reached temperatures approaching 40C, the alarm bells started ringing.

Though most cases of the virus have been mild, the 35-year-old ended up needing urgent treatment in hospital – and was isolated in a room on his own.

Harun, who lives in Shoreditch, North London, was forced to cover himself in four blankets to keep his body warm while he was feeling chills – despite the rest of the capital being in the middle of a heatwave, MyLondon reports.

With most of his friends still in Turkey, where he was born, Harun was battling high fevers, chills and painful swollen glands under his ears alone without his friends and family.

He began to develop a red and white rash, which he passed off as a side effect of the high fever he was suffering.


Harun Tulunay / Twitter)

It wasn’t until he checked a mirror after two days of being incredibly ill that he spotted the small lesion on his nose.

Harun, a public speaker and advocate at sexual health charity Positively UK, said: “I was unable to sleep and I was burning up with fever 38 degrees Celsius. The rash started out as red and white, I didn’t have any blisters or anything.

“A couple of days later when I checked myself in the mirror, I noticed a little lesion on my nose but I didn’t give much thought to it and had no idea it could be monkeypox.

“I thought it was acne or something.”

Working in sexual health, Harun was well-versed in monkeypox and its symptoms but as he had not seen the same kind of rash or lesions most commonly associated with the disease, it didn’t occur to him that he could have caught it.

Unsure what was happening to his body, it was a scary time for Harun who just wanted to know what could be done to help him begin to feel better again.

He said: “When my fever and pain hadn’t changed for a whole week, my friends became really concerned and so I reached out to 111 for help. I called five or six times when my fever was high and each time I told them the symptoms I was experiencing.


Harun Tulunay/Twitter)

“At this point my fever was so high I was passing out and couldn’t move. I would get asked the same questions over and over again – the answers were always the same.

“They said ‘if you get worse call us’ and each time I got worse the next day and when I called them the response was the same. My diagnosis was delayed a lot because of this, but I don’t blame them.”

Harun was referred to his GP after his condition continued to worsen.

He had been diagnosed with HIV back in 2016 and there was initial concern that his HIV medication, which means that he can live with the virus and not transmit HIV to anyone else, had stopped working.

Harun was advised to get in touch with his sexual health clinic, and after explaining his symptoms as well as noticing the rash on his nose he was advised to be tested for monkeypox.

He took an isolated route through the sexual health clinic as well as wearing a mask and covering up his lesions on his nose since it was still unclear what was making him unwell.

When he was tested for monkeypox he said that “they hadn’t seen a case like his before” and his “symptoms were not the ones they had seen with other people.”


Harun Tulunay / Twitter)

Harun added: “There are only one or two labs in London that can test for monkeypox and until you get a positive result there’s nothing to be done.

“Because we know very little about this condition people are afraid of it. I went to the A&E and they didn’t know what to do other than keep me isolated and gave me painkillers.”

Harun was hospitalised after he became unable to swallow his own spit, eat food or drink liquids and as he was uncertain what was happening and living alone, it became overwhelming for him to deal with.

He said: “I just wanted to know what is happening to me and what action can we take, I didn’t want to die from a high fever – my concern was not knowing what I had.

“After having been in A&E I was waiting on results from Homerton and I began to get worried about my fever. I’m completely alone in the UK, I don’t have anyone with me.

“I was unable to swallow my spit, drink or eat and I cried to a nurse on the phone saying that I’m alone, even 999 doesn’t listen to me, where can I get any help.


Harun Tulunay)

A nurse then arranged for him to be sent to Royal London Hospital on June 24, where he received treatment.

He added: “I had the worst experience ever in the last few weeks, it was worse than Covid and I’ve had that twice. I wanted to share my story to educate people and normalise the conversation around monkeypox. My case is really rare – the person who transmitted this to me had it really mild – he had some legions but he wasn’t as ill as I was.

“The lesion was so big and scary I was crying thinking it was going to leave a scar, it is scary waking up in the night alone shivering and being alone in an isolated room not knowing if the drugs they are giving you will work or when your lesion will disappear.

“I don’t have anyone in London really, it was really upsetting and you feel lonely, they are asking you questions like ‘do you have a will’ – ask everyone If I’m going to die I don’t have anyone right now and that played games with my mind.”

Harun moved to London alone in 2015 to escape discrimination and the hostile environment he faced back home as a gay man in Turkey. He delivers public speeches and shares his life experiences to tackle stigma and raise awareness of HIV and mental health.

He added: “People out there still think that this is a gay disease and it absolutely isn’t an illness that exclusively affects gay people. It’s annoying that people are saying this is a gay disease – people commented on my tweets saying that ‘oh you’re gay, next time use a condom’ and all sorts of ridiculous statements that just aren’t true.

“I want to make one thing clear, I’ve not shared my story to to tell people that they’ll become like me if they catch monkeypox, my case is really rare – I want to tell people to watch out for the symptoms and be sensible. If you have a fever, swollen gland or sore throat, stay at home, if you have blisters call your sexual health clinic.

My mental health has been messed up, all this uncertainty felt like the first days of Covid.

“People were really agitated and anxious then and that’s how I felt. I’ve been in a room that no one can come in or out unless it’s urgent. Only four walls and a TV channel with five or six channels. I just want to be in my own bed, my own home.”

When he arrives back home after being discharged from hospital, he is most looking forward to a shower, a catch up on the Netflix shows I’ve missed watching and get on the PlayStation because I love gaming.”

Have you got a story to share? We want to hear all about it. Email us at [email protected]

This content was originally published here.

Can't Get enough Freebie, Subscribe

We will send you the latest digital Marketing technology and methods that should help you grow your business.

Subscribe to Our list

Custom Keto Diet




All day slimming tea


ikaria Juice


Apple Cider Vinegar Ebook Membership

More Articles