Government appeals to gay community for help with monkey pox

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The majority of gay men in the community have gone into hiding rather than cooperating with the authorities, making it difficult for the government to seek their help in the fight against the monkeypox virus, as evidence suggests these men are part of a group at high risk of infection.

National AIDS Authority (NAA) Vice President Tia Phalla said yesterday that with the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like AIDS, and in particular monkeypox, authorities wish to contact homosexuals to check on their state of health and provide assistance if necessary.

An NAA report indicates that in 2019 there were 87,817 registered gay men, and authorities believe that number has increased.

“Unfortunately, we can only talk to a small portion of these men to find out more about their health, as gay men are at increased risk of contracting a number of illnesses, including the highly contagious monkeypox,” said he declared.

He added that gay men tend not to be open about their relationships, especially with the government, which makes it harder for authorities to prevent the spread of monkeypox, especially in the gay community.

“Today, we lack sufficient information to accurately determine the health status of gay men, and the government struggles to assist and monitor the transmission of STIs in this community to determine whether they are increasing or decreasing, especially if there are cases of monkeypox among them,” he said. said.

He called for gay men to come forward so authorities can provide health checks and other assistance if monkeypox is detected, and they will not face discrimination.

He said having safer sex by wearing a condom is essential, however, it does not offer 100% protection, but at least it can help reduce the transmission of the virus.

“However, if they show any signs of monkeypox, such as knots on their skin or fever, they should report it to the authorities. By doing this they will help the rest of the community,” he added .

Cambodia went on high alert after Thailand recorded a second case of monkeypox, this time in a gay man.

According to Bangkok PostPublic Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the second case was not linked to the Nigerian man, who was the first case detected in the country.

The man told health authorities that he had sex with foreign men and started developing symptoms on July 12.

The man started having a high fever, muscle aches and swollen lymph nodes, then developed a rash in his genital area and other parts of his body a week later, Anutin said.

Initially, an investigation revealed that the man had always lived in the capital and had no interprovincial travel record. He was likely infected through sex, according to the investigation.

Men’s Health Cambodia adviser You Kim Hong said there were more than 140,000 cases of gay sex in the country, but they had not received any information from gay men regarding symptoms of monkeypox.

“With the monkeypox alert within this group, we are concerned and will remind their members to practice safer sex and reduce sexual contact,” he said.

The World Health Organization’s representative in Cambodia, Dr Li Ailan, said the current outbreaks of monkeypox can be stopped if countries, communities and individuals, especially those in high-risk groups, take action. inform and take action to prevent monkeypox infection, stop transmission and protect vulnerable people. groups.

She said stigma and discrimination can be as dangerous as any virus and can fuel the epidemic. We must therefore avoid stigmatizing patients and close contacts. »

“The best way to manage the risk of monkeypox is to be prepared for early detection and rapid interventions, and to provide support and good care to those who need it,” she added.

She noted that the risk of having imported cases of monkeypox remains in Cambodia. Continuing to strengthen the country’s surveillance and response systems and communicating with the public in a consistent manner is critical to managing the risks of monkeypox.

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