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News Article

Linking Monkeypox to LGBTTTIQ+ Community Generates Discrimination

By Sofía Garduño | Fri, 06/10/2022 - 14:57

The Ministry of Health (SSa) is urging the population to stop narratives that link the LGBTTTIQ+ community to the monkeypox outbreak. The virus was linked to the community after the largest outbreaks were traced to gay raves and saunas. People, especially in countries where it is still risky to be openly gay, are suffering from discrimination.


“Opinions without a scientific basis and a stigmatizing and discriminatory vision limit public health interventions based on scientific evidence and affects the research regarding the monkeypox outbreak,” says the SSa.


The discourse that links the transmission of this disease to men who maintain sexual relations with men has generated stigma against them, violating their human rights as discrimination has impeded them from receiving early and adequate medical attention.


“Cases have been reported mainly, but not only, among men who have sex with men. Some countries are now beginning to report cases of apparent community transmission, including some cases in women,” says Tedros Adhanom, Director, WHO.


Men who have sex with other men in the EU and North America are currently at higher risk of getting the virus. Nonetheless, the monkeypox virus is already in 29 countries and people from other regions are also being discriminated against. In Iraq, for example, Muqtada al-Sadr, an influential Shia cleric, wrongly linked the monkeypox to homosexuality and named the disease as the “homosexual-pox,” as reported by Middle East Eye.


“Individuals contracting monkeypox must not be stigmatized or discriminated against in any way. Timely risk communication with the general public is important, and public health bodies should widely disseminate accurate and practical advice on prevention, diagnosis and treatment,” says Hans Kluge, Regional Director for Europe, WHO.


Monkeypox cases have been recorded since the late 1950s. Despite its name, it has been known to infect rodents. Monkeypox can occasionally be deadly, especially in places with inadequate healthcare, and is closely related to smallpox, which has plagued humans for millennia. The current outbreak is the largest and most widespread monkeypox outbreak ever seen in the EU as eight countries in the region have reported cases, as reported by MBN.


People can get monkeypox when they are in contact with the virus from an infected animal, person or materials. The virus can also be spread through contact with sores on an infected person. On occasions this disease can be transmitted through aerosols, just as the SARS-CoV-2, according to The New York Times. Mainly, this disease spreads through intimate contact such as sex, kissing or cuddling. As of today, there is no evidence that the virus can be spread through vaginal fluids nor semen, as reported by the CDC.


“It is premature to attribute this disease to sexual contact only because it strengthens stereotypes that vulnerate the human rights of people. Moreover, it is essential to highlight that the virus can affect every individual regardless of their sexual expression and gender identity,” added the SSa.


The data used in this article was sourced from:  
The New York Times, CDC, MBN, WHO, Middle East Eye, Scientific American, Ministry of Health
Photo by:   Pixabay , geralt
Sofía Garduño Sofía Garduño Journalist & Industry Analyst