The WHO’s Recipe for Stopping Monkeypox Angers Gay Community

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Madrid. – There is no safe way to have sex with infected people monkey pox, Although it is not a sexually transmitted disease, it is transmitted through intimate contact. And narrow and without a protective barrier, like a condom. Given this evidence, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday recommended that men who have sex with men limit the number of partners to reduce transmission. Of more than 18,000 infections recorded worldwide, 98% occurred in this group.it’s a Relevant advice For health experts consulted by CountryBut the LGTBI community feels so Signs that remind her of the stigma she suffered with HIV three decades ago.

“We were a bit surprised when we heard the WHO recommendation”Says Nahun Cabrera, spokesperson for the State Federation of Lesbian, Gay, Trans, Bisexual, Intersex and Others (FELGTBI+), who calls on the organization to avoid collective stigmathey believe that He is blamed for the spread of the disease “for having exercised his sexual freedom, without proposing effective measures to stop its spread”.,

The collective is influencing a message that the WHO has also reiterated: it’s not about sexual dysfunction, it’s about intimate contact. And one sexual instinct does not make the other more vulnerable to infection. Anyone can catch it if they have had enough direct exposure to the virus. “We don’t understand the WHO patriarchy with the LGTBI collective. It makes us feel like the harbingers of the infection and creates panic in the communitysays Cabrera, who doesn’t believe it’s convenient to “meet” the number of sexual partners one has.

“What you need to point out is that before you reciprocate another person, look a little bit, observe. But not just sexually. If you see someone with blisters on their hands, don’t squeeze them not in your arms. [aunque la enfermedad se puede transmitir también sin que haya lesiones]So is measles or rubella, which do the same thing and are more natural,” LGTBI rights activists say.

A man calls for increased access to the monkeypox vaccine during a protest in San Francisco on July 18, 2022.Daily Sky – Associated Press

Consulted by virologists and health professionals Country They ask that the WHO recommendations be put into context. Mating is the main route of spread. And the vaccine, which can serve as protection, does not reach all those who need it. The European Centers for Disease Control (ECDC) advise that people who engage in high-risk sexual practices receive it, but the 110,000 doses purchased by the European Union are insufficient, as FELGTBI+ denounces.

Spain is the first country in the world with detected cases (more than 3,700), ahead of the United States, but only 5,300 doses were obtained through joint purchases with Europe. Both Madrid and Catalonia have opened advance appointments for people with risky practices, although both administrations admit they do not have the required dosage. The Ministry of Health has announced that another 7,000 will arrive next week, barely covering direct contact with cases.

However, the two experts consulted each other and the WHO warned that Vaccines have their limitsThe body’s chief executive, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, insisted on Wednesday that he is still The amount of protection provided by different types of injections is unclear. is administered, traditionally designed for smallpox. and, in any case, does not immediately protectTips: There are two vaccinations and several weeks are needed for its full effect.

Pelo Latasa of the Spanish Society of Epidemiology believes that we should try to cover the “more biomedical” aspects related not only to the diagnosis and treatment of monkeypox, but also social ones: “It is very important that people know what is happening And how to prevent it Helping citizens find their own tools to solve problems is one of the most effective things to do, because it is an active agent. Considers that the WHO recommendations aimed at reducing the number of sexual partners are relevant In a large packet of advice.

FILE – World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus delivers his speech after his re-election during the 75th World Health Assembly at the United Nations European headquarters on May 24, 2022 in Geneva, in Swiss. Days after the UN’s world health agency declared the growing outbreak a global emergency, the head of the health organization advises men catching monkeypox to consider downsizing their partners sexual. At a press briefing on Wednesday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said 98% of monkeypox cases detected so far have been in men who are gay, bisexual or have sex with men. . (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via Associated Press, file)Salvatore Di Nolfi – Keystone

Fernando García, chair of the research ethics committee of the Carlos III Health Institute, which has published research on the subject, also fails to recognize that stigma is emerging. “WHO calls for individual responsibility of members of this group, without which it would be more difficult to stop the spread of infection. Stigma can tell people to calm down because the pandemic only affects men having sex with men. It is important that the gay community is actively involved in the decision and not just a passive recipient of recommendations made by others.Because for the public health measures to succeed, in addition to the actions of the authorities (isolation, quarantine, treatment…), the cooperation of the sectors concerned is necessary, with their voluntary participation, of course”, explains García.

Although WHO’s message seemed a little “harsh”, José Antonio López Guerrero, professor of microbiology in the Department of Molecular Biology at the Autonomous University, believes that trying to Reducing “multiple sexual contact” in the most affected group may be helpful in preventing disease.He compares this to Covid, clarifying that they are completely different diseases: “As with the coronavirus at that time, we were all at risk and we had to limit ourselves at some point. was, that is- that is, to avoid transmitting the virus. , is [limitar las parejas sexuales] It is a form of disconnection for the transmission of the virus. It is about quarantining the route of transmission, which today is basically risky sexual contact, especially between men.

Despite this comparison, López Guerrero clarifies that “No one can be forced not to have sex”it is therefore considered appropriate Take this as a recommendation, “Without stigma and without saying it’s a gay virus”, Because, as all the experts point out, it’s not even sexually transmitted. Although it may be present in sexual fluids, a condom will not prevent infection in a relationship. “The virus is not transmitted easily, it is not transmitted by simple contact, it is transmitted by close contact: between people who live together, who share a bed, sheets, towels, cutlery…”, explains the microbiologist. And this direct contact is inevitable in the sexual act, even if, as Tedros himself recognized, It is still necessary to determine the precise route by which this virus is transmitted.

A man receives the monkeypox vaccine from a medical professional at a medical center in Barcelona, ​​Spain, Tuesday, July 26, 2022.
A man receives the monkeypox vaccine from a medical professional at a medical center in Barcelona, ​​Spain, Tuesday, July 26, 2022. Francisco Seco – Associated Press

Despite all the experts pointing out the differences that existed with other viruses and trying to avoid repeating the stigma posed by HIV in its time, the gay community feels threatened again. And the sexual abstinence prescriptions designed at the time to fight AIDS did not work. Elvis Garcia, doctor of public health from Harvard University, explains that it has already been designed with a positive impact on the AIDS epidemic: “But the model is one thing and the reality is another. And in this case, maybe Tedros’s words may not be very happy, as the gay community is understandably singled out for the spread of disease., I think the idea is good, transparency is important for the WHO at this time. But the message, without further education and mobilization at the local level, may not get very far. And yet, naming a group as the focus of an outbreak has never proven positive and can lead to stigma and undesirable practices that complicate disease surveillance and eradication.

The State Coordinator for HIV and AIDS (CECIDA) believes that The mistake of the WHO was to refer to a specific sexual orientation, “I understand that he did not want to be tarnished, but he was”, testifies its president, Reyes Velios. “They should have talked about it and made a general recommendation not to have multiple sex partners. But what they’ve done is stigmatize and cause people who don’t belong to that group to [de hombres que tienen sexo con hombres] They may feel immune, when they’re not,” Ditch said.

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