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WHO suggests gay, bisexual men reduce sex partners to reduce monkeypox spread

With 98% of monkeypox cases reportedly coming from the LGBTIA community – particularly in men who have sex with other men (MSM) – the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) suggested that MSM should temporarily limit their number of sexual partners while monkeypox cases increase within their community.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels.com

Telling the gays, bi men to stop having sex as if that’d work.

With 98% of monkeypox cases reportedly coming from the LGBTIA community – particularly in men who have sex with other men (MSM) – the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) suggested that MSM should temporarily limit their number of sexual partners while monkeypox cases increase within their community.

This is a shift in the messaging from the global health agency considering that health officials have been trying to balance the need for outreach to the community experiencing the bulk of transmission — e.g. MSM like gay and bisexual men — and the need not to stigmatize members of that community by giving the impression that monkeypox only affects MSM.

Still, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that “this is an outbreak that can be stopped” as governments take measures, so countries should “reduce the risk of transmission to other vulnerable groups,” including children, pregnant people and those with weak immune systems.

He added that it can be stopped as long individuals stay informed and protect themselves from the virus, including MSM who should, “for the moment, reduc(e) your number of sexual partners, reconsidering sex with new partners, and exchanging contact details with any new partners to enable follow-up if needed.”

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), monkeypox is spread through close physical contact between humans, by a pregnant person to their fetus through the placenta, and when a person touches contaminated clothes and other items. Symptoms include fever, muscle pain, and a rash or pox-like blisters.

To date, over 18,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported to the WHO from 78 countries. Five of the cases have resulted in death.

The WHO earlier declared monkeypox a “public health emergency of international concern”, its highest level of threat.

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