Smallpox: “No, smallpox is not a disease of homosexuals,” warns the epidemiologist

Smallpox: "No, smallpox is not a disease of homosexuals," warns the epidemiologist

If the British Health Agency evokes “disproportionate” contamination by monkeypox in the homosexual population, one of its experts recalls that it is by no means a sexually transmitted disease. It also warns against the risks of stigma, which could send bad signals to other communities.

Smallpox (otherwise known as smallpox), known mainly in Central and West Africa, has gained ground in recent days due to its spread in about twenty European countries and the United States.

A total of 200 suspected or confirmed cases have been identified, and the disease, which has not yet progressed, raises questions. And it also questions the type of population particularly affected. According to the UK health agency UKHSA, “gay and bisexual men have so far been disproportionately affected.” What has not been observed with this disease until then.

This widespread element from the first observations raised the fear of a new AIDS virus in the LGBTQ + community. Anxiety associated with the fear that new stigmas will appear.

However, experts are categorical: smallpox is not a “sexually transmitted disease” and “in no way indicates one’s sexual orientation.”

Beware of homophobic speech

UKHSA epidemiologist for infectious diseases Mateo Procházka tweeted a series of tweets in which he summarized current knowledge about the disease, which helps to reject the idea of ​​”gay disease”.

The walk, which claims to be gay, went further in its explanations when asked by the PinkNews media. However, he recalled that “experts are still trying to understand why monkey pox seems to be spreading among gays.” But he said, “there is no evidence to suggest that the virus is sexually transmitted.” “This misconception is already prevalent among many people because of the way the media report on the current situation.”

Close contact with infected skin appears to be a source of transmission. “Although it is not a sexually transmitted infection, it can spread through close contact through sexual intercourse,” concludes Mateo Procházka, who thinks he can explain why homosexuals seem to be more affected. “Gay and bisexual men generally have more sexual partners and are also more likely to have anonymous sexual partners, which can lead to fewer personal contacts present in other communities,” he explains.

“There is a huge risk that a stigma will emerge and be attached to the current patterns of transmission we see in smallpox.”

Thanks @PinkNews @paddykell for an opportunity to discuss how this infection can affect our community – and how we can stay involved.

– Mateo Procházka (@teozka) May 24, 2022

Dangerous little music even for non-LGBTQ +

In short, the epidemiologist sees a danger for all in the affected population. “This manifestation could give people who are not LGBTQ + a false impression that they are not at risk of contracting the virus.” “However, the transfer does not only concern homosexual and bisexual men, it just happened to get into this network,” Procházka continues again.

After being marked by years of AIDS and then, like everyone else, by Covid anxiety, the gay community is called upon to “stay calm” in the face of chickenpox. “We need to find a balance between awareness and fear, and this can be done with the right amount of information from the right sources we are trying to provide,” says a UKHSA expert. “I think it’s very important to know that this is an infection that poses a very low risk to your personal health and that we as a community are trying to control.”

For Procházka, it is not on the agenda to “ask people to have less sex or change their relationship to sex,” and recalls that “monkey pox is not as transmissible as some other viruses.”

Low contamination and no deaths yet

“At this stage, the contamination numbers are still very low, in fact we do not understand or know the extent of the transmission, so we are working very quickly to carry out this assessment so that we can communicate it to the public.”

In France, Santé Publique France recalls that “at this stage, the cases reported in Europe are mostly mild and no deaths are reported”. SPF also urges “patients to respect isolation throughout the illness (until the last crust disappears, usually 3 weeks).”

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