'Monkeypox is No Joke,' Says Adult Performer Silver Steele. Wouldn't Wish on 'Worst Enemy'

Wednesday August 3, 2022
Originally published on August 2, 2022

Silver Steele
Silver Steele  (Source:Instagram)

When adult performer Silver Steele discovered some white bumps on his upper lip early last month, he thought it was razor burn. But when the bumps got bigger and started to blister, "in the back of my head I was thinking monkeypox, monkeypox, monkeypox."

"When Steele started experiencing the telltale flu-like symptoms — tender lymph nodes, fever, chills, and sore throat — he went to the doctor to test," wrote Rolling Stone in an interview. "He tested on a Friday, and received his positive result the following Monday."

On July 24 Steele posted an image of himself with the lesions front and center on social media, urging those uninfected to seek the vaccination. (For information about getting the vaccination near you, visit the Center for Disease Control website.)

Steele shared pics of his illness on Instagram. Note: the images are disturbing.

"The photos were shocking, and many responded with disgust, but Steele said that was precisely his intention in posting them. 'I want people to retweet it. I want my face and lesions to have visibility so people know how serious it is,'" he told Rolling Stone. Some trolled him for posting the pics, saying he should stick to porn; but many thanked him for coming forward.

Though monkeypox can be caught by anyone, the current worldwide outbreak has mostly affected gay men, which has led to stigmatization by right-wing pundits, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene and Tucker Carlson, and it being labeled a "gay disease" and calling it a STI. (It is not.) With cases on the rise, three states — New York, California and Illinois have elevated the outbreaks to a "state of emergency," in part to open up resources more easily,

reports NPR.

CNN reports: "While the World Health Organization has declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, the Biden administration has not issued a nationwide public health emergency declaration."

As of August 1, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports 5,811 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the United States, though that number is said not to represent the exact number of cases, which is largely underreported. "I continue to be concerned by the scale and spread of the virus across the world," The World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last week at a news conference.

Steele believes he contracted the virus at a Fourth of July party. "He went out dancing, where he and his friends 'were all rubbing up on [one] another and hugging and kissing," he tells Rolling Stone.

After his diagnosis, he decided to go public on social media. "Steele, who has a degree in biology, entered the adult film industry in 2018. Earlier this year he won the 2022 Grabby Best Group Sex award. Till mid July, his Twitter page was predominantly filled with video clips from his onlyfans account," reports the Australian LGBTQ+ website the Star Observer.

On July 19, Steele posted of his monkeypox experiences on Twitter. assuring his fans that that he was experiencing mild symptoms. 

"For everyone out there going through a monkeypox infection you have my greatest sympathies. Covid was nothing compared to this. Luckily, my case is a little more mild. My lesions are just a small cluster on my chin and they're painless. Just really dealing with flu-like symptoms," he posted. 

He considered his case mild because of he heard from friends who had far worse symptoms including "urethral and anorectal lesions that make going to the bathroom feel like you're trying to pass hot needles."

But as his case continued, his condition became worse. "I thought my monkeypox case was mild. I am now at two weeks and the lesions on my face are brutal. In addition, Monkeypox weakens your immune system and in my case I also have Strep throat for the first time ever as an added bonus. I now have additional lesions appearing randomly on my body albeit smaller ones that will stay small (hopefully) as my antibody count climbs," Steele posted on Twitter. 

"The pain I've been experiencing keeps my eyes full of tears and my keeps my light dimmed. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy," he said. 


On Day 15, post diagnosis, Steele shared a video about the lesions on his face and body, urging people to  "show compassion and kindness to people going through this... it could be you. People can feel alone in this." 

Three days later some relief came. "Day 18 of my journey. Still quarantining, and my lesions are improving. Less pain and I can actually eat full meals. I want to say how full my heart is from everyone messaging me that they're getting vaxxed!"


On July 25, Steele offered an update of the progression of his blisters. "Top left - July 11

Top right - July 15 - date I was tested

Bottom left - July 18 confirmed Mpox positive

Bottom right - July 21:


On July 31 (Day 20), Steele posted better news: "Yesterday was the first day I stopped taking pain meds and I feel great. No pain, and lesions are improving considerably. Still isolating until my face is healed, but my body lesions are nearly gone!"

Steele points out that he wasn't bothered by the trolling he has received, including those who are using his photos to stigmatize gay men.

"The people who want to sling stones and arrows at me are not the audience for my post anyway. It's meant to provide insight and education for those who want to know and to give visibility to the virus," said Steele. 

The adult film performer said that he decided to speak out "instead of sitting here letting this thing run its course across my face inflicting pain".

Adding, "Forty years ago, gay men hid and stayed quiet when a disease hit us. Then our brothers and trans sisters died en masse while the government did NOTHING. I refuse to be silent or shamed for this. I want to help others and encourage others to be proud of their sexual health," said Steele.

He had a message for the community: "Monkeypox Is not a joke, please take the proper precautions and get vaccinated if it's available near you."