Chickenpox: Are gays really more likely to get chickenpox?

Chickenpox: Are gays really more likely to get chickenpox?

After two years of health crisis linked to Covid-19, a media wave of the new virus, “monkey pox,” worries the LGBT community even more as rumors increase.

Smallpox has dominated the landscape in recent days. This Thursday, health authorities reported 200 confirmed cases of “monkey pox” in Europe, North America, Australia and Israel, countries where the disease is usually extremely rare. The circulation of the disease raises questions especially about the type of particularly affected population.

Are gay men really more contaminated?

The reported cases of monkeypox are currently “primarily, but not exclusively, young men who have had sex with men“Says the World Health Organization (WHO). And according to UKHSA, the British health agency, “gay and bisexual men have so far been disproportionately affected“.

According to scientists who are trying to find out more about this new disease, it is very likely that smallpox transmits so-called long-term contact, skin to skinin a person with an active lesion or through long-term exposure to respiratory droplets from a person with oral lesions. Therefore, sexual relations would a priori fall within this framework of “closeness” between two individuals. And this, regardless of their sexual orientation.

The increase in the number of cases could therefore be related to certain promotional activities within the gay community, which explains the higher prevalence among gay and bisexual men, details Nice morning. “The gay community includes fairly festive people who are used to meeting at big events – especially after two years of the Covid pandemic – and who may have several sexual partners,” he testified. Parisian Jean *, a 50-year-old Swiss living in Antwerp.

However, according to US epidemiologist John Brooks, this “does not mean” that “the current risk of exposure to smallpox only affects the gay and bisexual communities.” MSM, men who have sex with men, represent a large but not exclusive proportion of currently reported cases. It is too early to understand the reasons. It may have been a simple fact that the alert was issued for the first time in this community, so more tests were done, “said Alexandre Mailles, an infectious disease specialist at Public Health France, at a news conference this Friday.

Stigma risk

On Sunday, May 22, the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) informed our colleagues in Ouest France that several suspicious cases were being investigated in France. And that after the first case was reported in France to a 29-year-old man.

It was not long before the World Health Organization (WHO) and national health authorities noted that many cases involved men who had sex with men. This indicates sexual transmission.

However, WHO Europe Director Hans Kluge insisted on Friday the importance of “not stigmatizing and discriminating against people who became infected with the disease”. Ever since UNAIDS condemned several “homophobic” and “racist” media outlets on the subject, rightly so.

Are monkey pox STI?

No, it is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the true sense of the word. Because chickenpox can be transmitted by saliva, sex with an infected person can transmit it, but it is not necessary.. “It is probably too early to draw conclusions about the mode of transmission or to assume that sexual activity was necessary for transmission,” warned Michael Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, with our colleagues at Stubborn.

What are risky behaviors?

In Madrid, the vast majority of the first confirmed cases of “monkey pox” took part in a gay sauna in the city center, “El Paraíso”. In Toronto, Canada, where a suspicious case from Montreal was identified, people went to and gay bar (Woody’s bar) or in the concert hall could be exposed to the virus.

In Belgium, at least three out of four patients attended the Darklands Fetish Festival, which took place from 4 to 9 May in Antwerp. “Elements lead to the assumption that the virus was brought by visitors from abroad,” the festival organizers suggest to colleagues from Parisianwhich was attended by many members of the LGBT community.

Soothing data

In France, Public Health France recalls “that at this stage cases are reported mainly in Europe benignand no deaths are reported. ”The SPF further urges“ patients to respect isolation for the duration of the disease ”(until the last crusts disappear, usually 3 weeks).

Another trait to note: people over the age of 50 appear to be immune to monkeypox because, until 1979, the French were compulsorily vaccinated against smallpox.

If symptoms appear, it is necessary to isolate and wear a mask, said Public Health France. And of course contact your doctor.

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