EXPERTS have debunked the misconception that the monkeypox virus is ‘a gay disease’ as it continues to spread across the US.
Health officials are warning the public that sexual orientation does not affect your susceptibility to the virus.
While most cases of monkeypox in America and Europe affect gay and bisexual men, in this case correlation does not equal causation, experts say.
“It’s not a gay disease,” said Dr. Ken Mayer, Fenway Institute medical research director, to the Boston Globe.
The remarks come as the US has seen 605 confirmed monkeypox/orthopoxvirus cases, of which 7,243 have been reported worldwide, according to CDC data.
The virus hitting queer men is a painful reminder of the deadliest epidemic of the 1980s.
The spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Autoimmune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) primarily by gay men in the 1980s made the disease even more deadly due to the stigma surrounding it.
Health officials are determined not to experience the same thing as monkeypox cases soar in the US and UK.
Mayer explained that the disease has mostly stayed in men who have sex with men because that’s where it started.
If the virus had first struck heterosexual people, it likely would have stayed among them, Mayer said.
“It’s the social media phenomenon,” Mayer said.
“It’s about who you interact with, not the specific behavior.”
Although rare, monkeypox is spread through skin-to-skin contact. This contributes to making it particularly vulnerable in males who frequent sexual establishments such as bathhouses and sex workers.
Health officials also stress that spread can just as easily occur via contaminated items.
The outbreak of monkeypox often includes a high fever and headache. However, in some, the disease festers into painful, highly visible skin lesions.
The CDC’s announcement of 53 cases of monkeypox in the Washington DC area alone has prompted the launch of two new vaccination sites.
The number of vaccines available is limited and vaccination spots at sites are filling up as quickly as they are made available.
Vaccination priority is given to those most at risk of monkeypox.
Eligibility criteria for DC vaccinations include gay and bisexual men, transgender women, non-binary male bodied individuals who are sexually active with other men.
The eligibility also extends to sex workers of any sexual orientation and gender, as well as to employees of establishments where sexual activity regularly takes place.
If you are showing monkeypox symptoms or think you have been exposed to the monkeypox virus, contact a local doctor immediately.
https://www.the-sun.com/health/5717795/monkeypox-disease-experts-stigma-spread/ Monkeypox ‘not a gay disease’, blasts experts say – after infected men reveal they suffer debilitating pain and lesions