The stigma spread by Monkeypox concerns doctors and the gay community

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The White House says – so far – 99% of people treated for monkeypox are gay or bisexual men. But doctors and advocates fear it could lead to stigma around the infection. Doctors say their priority is to treat anyone who needs it and not contribute to the stigma surrounding monkeypox. But some think it’s too late to be avoided. “It’s important that we talk about these things and educate people about how these messages can harm not only the queer community but others as well,” said Ryan Tomlinson, president of the OKC Pride Alliance. Monkeypox is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, but OU Health’s infectious disease chief said the outbreak was a little different from the previous one. “This time, what’s new about the 2022 outbreak is that it’s mostly human-to-human transmission. And it’s mostly skin-to-skin transmission, usually during from intimate contact,” said Dr. Douglas Drevets, head of infectious diseases at OU Health. While monkeypox is currently spreading between gay men, doctors say that may change. You can’t assume that this is only a problem in one population.” Apart from this audience, it also affects other people, who may not be part of this gay population. Who might not get the information they need to protect themselves and others and get vaccinated and take all those precautionary efforts in order to stop the spread of monkeypox virus,” Tomlinson said. But, he added, stigma is nothing new for the gay and bisexual community. “Stigma, especially around viruses and diseases within the gay community, is nothing new. Like, looking back to the 80s and 90s. Obviously the HIV pandemic and the pandemic of AIDS,” said Tomlinson.

The White House says – so far – 99% of people treated for monkeypox are gay or bisexual men.

But doctors and advocates fear it could lead to stigma around the infection.

Doctors say their priority is to treat anyone who needs it and not contribute to the stigma surrounding monkeypox. But some think it’s too late to be avoided.

“It’s important that we talk about these things and educate people about how these messages can harm not only the queer community but others as well,” said Ryan Tomlinson, president of the OKC Pride Alliance.

Monkeypox is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, but OU Health’s infectious disease chief said the outbreak was a little different from the previous one.

“This time, what’s new about the 2022 outbreak is that it’s mostly human-to-human transmission. And it’s mostly skin-to-skin transmission, usually during of intimate contact,” said Dr. Douglas Drevets, chief of infectious diseases at OU Health.

While monkeypox is currently spreading between gay men, doctors say that may change.

“It’s kind of a fluke of nature. It’s just where it was introduced at some point,” Drevets said.

OKC’s Pride Alliance said it’s important to remember: you can’t assume this is just a problem in one population.

“Apart from this audience, it also affects other people, who may not be part of this gay population. Who may not get the information they need to protect themselves and others, get vaccinated and take all of these precautionary efforts in order to stop the spread of the monkeypox virus,” Tomlinson said.

But, he added, stigma is nothing new to the gay and bisexual community.

“Stigma, especially around viruses and diseases within the gay community, is nothing new. Like, looking back to the 80s and 90s. Obviously the HIV pandemic and the pandemic of AIDS,” said Tomlinson.

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