Could monkeypox bring a new wave of homophobia?  - Wiring Science

Could monkeypox bring a new wave of homophobia? – Wiring Science

A piece of skin tissue harvested from an infected monkey monkeypox Virus, seen at 50 times magnification on the fourth day of rash development in 1968. Photo: US CDC


  • When news broke that monkeypox appeared to disproportionately affect gay and bisexual men, J. Fei Cheng, associate professor at Scripps College, thought, “Here we are again.”
  • This association recalled the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, when what we knew about the condition was limited to its impact on the queer community.
  • As of May 27, about 300 cases have been reported in the United States and Europe, and several countries have reported that nearly all of these cases have been in gay and bisexual men.
  • There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that monkeypox is spread specifically through sex, or through homosexual sex in particular. It spreads through skin-to-skin contact.
  • Infectious disease expert Kartik Chirapudi said that although the possibility of sexual transmission cannot be ruled out, skin-to-skin contact could easily explain infection patterns.

When news broke that monkeypox appeared to disproportionately affect gay and bisexual men, J. Fei Cheng, associate professor of feminist studies, gender and sexuality at Scripps College, thought, “Here we are again.” For Cheng and many others, the emerging infectious disease’s association with gay and bisexual men starkly recalled the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, as little was known about the condition other than its impact on the queer community – an observation that led to it being called ” Gay Cancer” for a while.

As of May 27, about 300 cases have been reported in the United States and Europe, and many countries have reported that all or nearly all of these cases have been in gay and bisexual men. Several of the infected men appeared to have contracted monkeypox in events that were initially reported as “delirium” but were actually a 10-day gay pride event in the Canary Islands and a five-day fetish festival in Belgium. The gay sauna in Madrid may also be a prime location for data transmission.

When this link became clear, health officials responded quickly. On May 23, John Brooks, head of the epidemiology research team in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, made an outspoken appeal to gay and bisexual men at a news briefing. On May 24, gay dating app Grindr, in partnership with local health agencies, offered a monkeypox warning to users across Europe; Brooks noted at the press conference that similar warnings may come soon to US users.

There is a clear meaning in this approach: if an infectious disease is disproportionately present in a particular community, then direct contact with that community may be the most effective way to contain its spread. But some experts worry that associating monkeypox with gay and bisexual men may repeat the mistakes of the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

First, the facts: There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that monkeypox is spread specifically through sex, or through homosexual sex in particular. He. She he is It spreads through skin contact, and sex — gay, straight or otherwise — tends to involve a significant amount of skin contact. Although the possibility of sexual transmission cannot be definitively ruled out, there is no strong reason to believe that it occurs when skin-to-skin contact can easily explain infection patterns, says Kartik Chirapudi, associate professor of infectious and global diseases. Medicine at the University of Florida.

As far as experts can tell, monkeypox disproportionately affects gay and bisexual men as a direct result of events in which a large number of men were in frequent close contact – sexual or otherwise – over several days. “All it takes is one person who might have monkeypox,” says Ronald Valdesiri, professor of epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health.

Once the virus spreads within a particular community, members of that community become more susceptible to it – after all, gay and bisexual men are more likely to come into close physical contact with other gay and bisexual men. This, in Valdesiri’s view, is reason enough for public health organizations to work to raise awareness of the wall of monkeys among gay and bisexual men. “The choices they make are their own, but you want to make sure people have the right information up front,” he says.

But Tonya Butyat, MD, associate professor of social medicine at the University of North Carolina, isn’t convinced there is a strong public health imperative to reach gay and bisexual men in particular, at least at this point. Monkeypox is much less transmissible than SARS-CoV 2, and as of May 26, the United States had only reported nine cases. It also notes that the predominance of homosexual and bisexual men among men a favour Cases do not necessarily translate into a similar bias between All cases. She says that because of HIV/AIDS, gay and bisexual men are more likely to come into contact with the health care system and are more likely to seek immediate medical attention for a new, unexplained rash.

Given these facts, Butyat says, the messages could have looked quite different. “What we do know is how monkeypox is transmitted,” she says. “That’s what people really need to know. They don’t necessarily need to know about the sexual behavior or sexual orientation of the people they might have been identified.” After all, scientists believe monkeypox can spread through any type of close contact — hugging, contact sports, or touching bed linen or towels — not just sex.

But the statistical association between monkeypox and gay and bisexual men has come into focus — and now that it is, Valdesiri says he’s already concerned about the risks of complex stigmas. Infectious diseases and sexually transmitted diseases, and sexually transmitted diseases in particular, are already a severe stigma. Although monkeypox does not appear to be sexually transmitted in the traditional sense (through semen and vaginal secretions), sex is the likely cause of its spread, and it has now been openly associated with events and sites, such as a fetish and gay sauna festival, that may Acceptance margins pay off for some people. And the annoyance and fear people might feel about a new outbreak, and about certain types of sex, might then stick to gay and bisexual men as a group.

“It kind of feeds into this message that MSM are somehow more contagious than others — that’s a dangerous subtext,” says Petit.

Another reason is that sexual behaviors can become the focus in blaming monkeypox. This blame can be dangerous when directed toward a marginalized group — as was the case for Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic — and could cover other roots of the disease’s spread, such as global inequality. “We have to be very careful not to specifically stigmatize sexual behavior because that prevents us from understanding that structural violence plays a role,” Cheng says. He notes that activists during the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic demanded structural treatments such as universal health care and housing, and that the persistent lack of these treatments today has played a major role in the spread of COVID-19 in the United States.

There is another link Cheng sees between today’s monkeypox and HIV/AIDS activism: solidarity with women fighting for reproductive rights. Both he and Petite note that the monkeypox outbreak is attributable in part to individual sexual behavior at a time when bodily independence is steadily eroding in the United States. Raw vs. Wade It appears to be on the verge of collapse, and an increasing number of states are criminalizing the right of transgender children to care for gender assertion. The past few months have also seen a rise in rhetorical attacks on gay and bisexual men, from the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” Florida bill to the widespread use of the term. Nanny To point out that gay men are a danger to young boys.

It is true that there are some key differences between 2022 and 1981, when cases of HIV/AIDS were first reported. At the moment, same-sex marriage is still legal throughout the United States, and some gay and bisexual men – albeit wealthy white men – make a significant presence in public life. But it would be wrong to conclude on this basis that gay and bisexual men, especially men of color and the poor, are not subject to discrimination. “Homophobia hasn’t evaporated,” Valdesiri says. It’s better in some areas than in others. But it hasn’t disappeared.”

future tense is a partnership slateAnd the New America And the Arizona State University which studies emerging technologies, public policy, and society.

2022-06-06 03:57:21

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