Monkeypox is a milder cousin of the smallpox virus. Originally from Africa, this year’s outbreak is linked to a gay sauna in Madrid and a Pride parade in the Canary Islands. The virus has now reached 243 countries, though the United States has by far the largest share of cases, at 3,846, or about 21% of total cases worldwide. Monkeypox was declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday.
“Although I am declaring a public health emergency of international concern, for the moment this is an outbreak that is concentrated among men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple sexual partners.”—WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Approximately 98% of cases are among gay men.
“That means that this is an outbreak that can be stopped with the right strategies in the right groups.”
While WHO encourages communities to “design and deliver effective information and services” for gay men most likely to contract the virus, New Mexico’s Department of Health website doesn’t mention the fact that 98% of infections are in homosexual men.
“Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact,” NMDOH says in its Monkeypox awareness poster.
The health department recommends seeking medical guidance if you have contact with “someone” who has a rash, particularly if you met online, via app, or at a bar/party. There is no specific guidance to avoid multiple partners or unprotected sex.
The reluctance to call Monkeypox what it is and warn the gay community about their particular susceptibility to the disease is both anti-science and dangerous. The New Mexico Department of Health appears to be more afraid of “stigmatizing” the virus than educating those most affected by this global health emergency.
So much for “follow the science.”
Categories: New Mexico