Homosexuals need special warning about Monkey Flower

There are an disproportionate number of cases The last outbreak of monkey chickenpox appeared among gay and bisexual men. And as public health bodies investigate During a pride event in the Canary Islands, in a sauna in Madrid, or in other parts of Europe where homosexuals may have had sexual or other close physical contact, government officials try not to single out a group that has survived. terrible stigma At the height of the American AIDS crisis.

“Experience shows that stigmatizing rhetoric can quickly turn off evidence-based responses, triggering cycles of fear, driving people out of health care, hindering case-finding efforts, and encouraging ineffective, punitive measures,” said Matthew Kavanag, Executive Director, Joint. United Nations HIV / AIDS Program he said recently. For many years, after the outbreak of HIV, the fear of being judged or ashamed kept some homosexuals from getting tested.

But as a homosexual who studies the history of infectious diseases, I’m concerned that public health officials are not doing enough to directly warn men about having sex with men. Homosexual men are not the only people at risk, but they should know that this condition is most prevalent in their community right now. In recent days, CDC officials have openly acknowledged this. Directed by Rochelle Valensky noted on Thursday that of the 9 cases of chickenpox found in the United States in the middle of the week, the majority were in men who had sex with men.

However, many other well-meaning officials seem to be afraid to say anything homophobic, and the media has published articles stressing that monkeyism is not a “gay disease.” Their caution is guaranteed, but health agencies put gay men at risk if they do not prioritize them for interventions such as public awareness campaigns, vaccines, and tests.

Flower associated with chickenpox և causes symptoms which includes a rash has not previously been considered a sexually transmitted infection, but many people who have recently been infected with the disease have developed symptoms such as genital or anus injuries that correspond to sexually transmitted infections. Public health officials should work with gay community health centers and other LGBTQ organizations to provide information on monkey symptoms to physicians and their patients.

While gay activist groups and clinics may closely monitor the outbreak, I’m concerned about gay men in areas where doctors may not be aware of the pathophysiology of the virus. Therefore, public health agencies should also click on gay social media apps and other online platforms to inform their users that men who have sex with men are disproportionately infected with the virus. These awareness-raising efforts should focus on the most marginalized people who may be at risk. In the past, HIV prevention and treatment efforts have reached white men, but not the large number of working-class poor men who have been infected with the virus.

At the moment, both the media and government officials continue to fight the monkey as rare. I understand the instinct not to overreact. However, while the number of documented cases remains small, the assumption that the outbreak is an anomaly is exactly what misled medical authorities, journalists, and even homosexuals 40 years ago when HIV first hit the headlines. AIDS was commonly described as an unusual disorder in San Francisco and New York in a small cluster of homosexuals, but the pathogen that caused it was already much more widespread. I’m worried we’re making the same mistakes we did when HIV first started.

The United States is still dealing with the baggage of the HIV / AIDS crisis. In the 1980s and early 1990s, some Americans were unnecessarily worried about having an accidental affair with someone with AIDS or even being in the same room. Public health campaigns have sought to alleviate anxiety by creating ads on the subway showing gay and straight couples kissing to emphasize that HIV is not spreading, or talking about condoms to promote safer sex. These efforts were useful. Publishing reliable information about transmitting the virus and avoiding it is essential to protect public health.

However, for fear of inciting hostility against homosexuals, officials today may underestimate the role of sexual transmission in recent cases of monkey pox.

Viruses are spread directly by physical and social conditions. COVID-19 has a greater chance of spreading in crowded places indoor environment than on a hiking trail. Similarly, the monkey flower does not require sexual intercourse, but tends to spread in situations where people with open skin are together. Like HIV, monkeys do not check your sex drive. The virus does not count the number of partners it all has, and then connects with those who have the largest number. It is really looking for opportunities to spread, և some strange places, especially where people meet for sex, have created conditions that allow it to happen.

Areas where homosexuals gather closely have helped determine the community. When public health facilities closed bathrooms in the early days of HIV, many homosexuals viewed the closures as a violation of their growing liberation. (On the contrary, in March 2020, when public health officials closed cinemas and stadiums, many Americans were saddened to see these places temporarily closed, but they could not be used for anyone’s basic identity.) While I do not suggest that governments impose restrictions on strange areas, health agencies should tell gay men that monkeys can actually be sexually transmitted.

The authorities should be able to send this message without the morality of the sponsors’ behavior. Historically, when public health is at stake, the urge to judge and be ashamed has been strong, as shown by the HIV / AIDS crisis and COVID-19. Especially before the coronavirus vaccines became available, people criticized each other on social media or in person for even harmless behavior, such as going to the beach or jogging outdoors without a mask.

But “health officials” and the public must be able to distinguish between the use of the virus to infect an entire community, and the recognition that certain physical and social conditions are indeed a high risk of infection. Giving carefully tailored warnings to homosexuals about the danger of monkeys can be a form of education, not a stigma.

Instead of treating baths, clubs, and dance parties as merely carriers of infectious diseases, they should be recognized as potential promoters of sexual health. For decades, it was common to find a bucket of condoms at the entrance of many bars, next to posters and leaflets with information about safe sex. LGBTQ organizers have a good practice of informing their communities about potential health threats and advocating safe sex practices.

Public health officials need to mobilize those resources, not tackle the issue on their own two feet. If gay men are at risk for monkeypox outbreaks, we need to be told that clearly, not that the condition is rare, but mainly in other parts of the world.

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