By AB White
Monkeypox at first seemed like it was gearing up to be Coronavirus 2.0. Until new research was found connecting the virus to the LGBTQ+ community- specifically, gay men.
Monkeypox was found in 1958 after two outbreaks of a pox-like illness in monkey colonies. The symptoms of monkeypox are similar to those of smallpox, although they are milder and milder. Chickenpox is not related to monkeypox.
How is it related to gay men?
Let's be clear about three things. To begin with, anyone can contract monkeypox. Second, the current outbreak is mostly affecting guys who have sex with men. Third, a rising body of information and data shows that monkeypox is currently spreading mostly through intercourse among these males. While it is true that the virus may be spread in other ways, understanding and reporting these facts is not anti-gay or anti-science, and neither is focusing counsel on members of this group because they are now the most vulnerable.
More than 31,000 people have caught monkeypox worldwide, with about a third of them in the United States, where the Biden administration has declared a public health emergency. Except for Wyoming, every state has discovered at least one instance.
In an interview with the Atlantic, NYU scientist Joseph Osmundson remembered a recent incident in which he was going home when a stranger yelled "Monkeypox!" at him. He was not infected with the virus, which has primarily transmitted through male-to-male contact, and he did not have the characteristic skin sores. So, he argued, he must have been targeted for this catcall because he was "visibly gay." The disease's label, he claims, has aggravated a painful breakout.
During the early 1980s, homosexual activists developed a safer-sex movement that (often contentiously) countered the previous decade's euphoric post-Stonewall emancipation. Finally, the push significantly reduced sexual risk-taking. As a result, HIV transmission among homosexual men decreased as a result. This was also an incident in which homosexual men were blamed for the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS.
On the Dave Ross Commentary radio show, queer reporter Travis Mayfield stated, "It [HIV/AIDS] largely started in one community—mine—and then spread. That’s because many men who have intimate contact with men also have intimate contact with women, and for that matter, people at every stop along the gender rainbow. There is nothing intrinsic about gay, bisexual, or queer men that precipitates monkeypox. Thus, there is nothing biologically special about anyone else that will protect against monkeypox in the future. You can get it too. "
According to the CDC, there are three ways you can catch monkeypox: direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person; touching contaminated surfaces, objects, or fabrics; and contact with respiratory secretions like mucus.
"Risk is not black and white. There’s a lot of nuance around it in general, and that’s not just unique to monkeypox, "said Dr. Aniruddha Hazra, an infectious disease doctor at the University of Chicago specializing in LGBTQ health. "This is about figuring out what you feel comfortable doing while still enjoying your life and doing the things you want to do."
According to new research, monkeypox might be spread through anal intercourse. Researchers discovered monkeypox in sperm and were able to cultivate the virus. More study on both fronts is needed, according to experts, to establish if this is the most likely mechanism to spread monkeypox.
When asked about other bodily fluids such as semen, vaginal fluids, and blood, the World Health Organization’s monkeypox technical lead, Dr. Rosamund Lewis, said, "Research is underway to find out more about whether people can spread monkeypox through the exchange of these fluids during and after symptomatic infection."
Monkeypox is more likely to spread via oral or anal intercourse than by contact with external skin, which would require some kind of defect, such as a cut, to allow the virus to enter. This means that anyone can still get it.Is it more likely among homosexual guys who have unprotected sex? Yes. But straight people can also most likely get it from having unprotected sex.
Monkeypox is not a "gay" disease. HIV/AIDS wasn’t a gay disease. This is just an instance of a group of people being more prone to getting a disease than others. So don’t think that this doesn’t affect you, because you can get it too.
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