'Monkeypox is not limited to men who have sex with men': WHO dismisses hoax

The recent monkeypox outbreak has raised fears for the LGBTQ community after some cases of monkeypox were registered among men who had sex with men.

ANIUpdated: Monday, August 01, 2022, 07:13 PM IST
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The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated in its public health advisory for gays and men who have sex with men that the risk of monkeypox is not just limited to them after WHO’s earlier statement triggered a hoax that might have demonised the LGBTQ community.

WHO in its earlier statement had said that a few monkeypox cases were reported in health clinics located in the LGBTQ communities.

“It is important to note that the risk of monkeypox is not limited to men who have sex with men. Anyone who has close contact with someone who is infectious is at risk. However, given that the virus is being identified in these communities, learning about monkeypox will help ensure that as few people as possible are affected and that the outbreak can be stopped,” read the WHO’s public health advice.

The above statement clarifies that monkeypox can spread from close physical contact regardless of any sexual orientation or race and that LGBTQs are not ‘spreaders’ of monkeypox.

“You can catch monkeypox if you have close physical contact with someone who is showing symptoms. This includes touching and being face-to-face”, said WHO’s public health advice.

“Monkeypox can spread during close skin-to-skin contact during sex, including kissing, touching, oral and penetrative sex with someone who has symptoms. Avoid having close contact with anyone who has symptoms,” added the advice.

The recent monkeypox outbreak has raised fears for the LGBTQ community after some cases of monkeypox were registered among men who had sex with men.

Earlier, when the first case of monkeypox was registered it was said that it is a disease common in children later close contact happened between the people of the LGBTQ community during the celebrations of Pride Month, and some more cases of monkeypox were logged.

As WHO stated that risk of spreading the Monkeypox virus comes from close physical contact with someone who is showing symptoms. Thus the breakout during the Pride Month celebration was maybe because of the close contact between the people but not because the people involved in the celebrations were of the LGBTQ community.

As cited in an American current affairs channel’s report, “Monkeypox is not an STI in the classic sense because it’s not spread by semen, blood, or bodily fluids during sexual contact. The virus typically spreads through droplets via respiratory and other mucosal tracts, explained Rebecca Fischer, an infectious disease specialist at Texas A&M University”

However, the world health body has advised men to limit their sexual partners.

“Monkeypox can be concerning, especially for people whose loved ones or community have been affected. Some cases have been identified through sexual health clinics in communities of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men,” said the advisory

Researcher Health Policy PhD Candidate Ahmed Ali on Twitter said, “Anyone can get monkeypox. Stigmatizing the LGBTQ+ community won’t make monkeypox go away. The insidious practice of dehumanizing others continues to be a threat to public health. We’ve seen this during the AIDS crisis and the surge of anti-Asian hate during this pandemic”.

“Stigmatising people because of a disease is never ok. Anyone can get or pass on Monkeypox, regardless of their sexuality,” stated the footnote of the advisory.

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