Fauci Says Government Must Fight Any Homophobic Stigma Connected to Monkeypox

Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House Chief Medical Adviser and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), speaking about the early transmission of monkeypox, told NPR that it is important to understand “the extent of the spread, how it’s spread, what population.” 

According to Dr. Fauci, the monkeypox virus is one that medical professionals understand and can use the tools that are available to them, unlike in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of August 22, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports over 19,000 monkeypox cases in the US since May 17, 2022, when the first domestic patient with this outbreak was discovered in Massachusetts. The White House has established a monkeypox reaction team, and at least three states—California, Illinois, and New York—have now declared states of emergency due to the outbreak. 

Fauci stated that approximately ninety-nine percent of the cases of monkeypox have occurred in men who have sex with men.

Currently, data suggests that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men account for the majority of cases in the ongoing monkeypox outbreak. However, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, anyone who has had close, personal contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk.

Human-to-human contact is the primary method of propagation for the present pandemic. 

However, the initial cluster of monkeypox among gay males has generated hateful commentary that uncannily parallels the early Aids pandemic.

“We’ve got to understand the modality of transmission, the manifestations, also the risk for people like children and pregnant women,” he said. “There’s really a profound risk.”

At press time, two cases of monkeypox were reported in children as well as one in a pregnant woman and her newborn. 

According to Dr. Fauci, who helped lead the fight against HIV and AIDS, the federal government must fight any homophobic stigma connected to monkeypox by focusing on the virus, not the people infected with it.

“You reach out to the community. You make it very easy for them to have access to testing, to treatment, and to vaccines, as opposed to making it a situation where people are afraid to come forward for those types of things,” he said.

 

Source: NPR NEWS