A sign announces the monkeypox vaccination in Tropical Park by Miami-Dade County and Nomi Health, August 15, 2022.

Why we shouldn’t know who’s at high risk of monkeypox infection – CNN

This month, the Biden administration announced an outbreak of monkeypox, a virus that spreads disproportionately between men who have sex with men and their sexual networks, Public health emergency.
unwillingness to reproduce the anti-gay stigma that emerged during the early AIDS crisis, some argue It can be dangerous to identify the group most at risk of developing monkeypox infection.

However, experts say insisting on circulating warnings hurts communication with the most vulnerable, including black and Latino men, and oversimplifies the lessons of the AIDS crisis, highlighting the importance of fighting stigma. And the Pressure to take care of those who need it.

“We don’t want to add stigma to a sensitive situation, but then our messaging becomes so broad that no one knows we’re talking to — and that becomes a real problem,” Robert Volelove, a professor of clinical social medical sciences at Columbia University Medical Center, told CNN.

In short, experts say we shouldn’t get around this problem. Instead, we should face it directly, and keep an eye on it Expand access to care.

What early data shows

Part of the problem with talking about monkeypox obliquely is that we end up overemphasizing who Can Get the virus and reduce Do Get it, according to Melanie Thompson, a physician and HIV researcher in Atlanta.

Take a detailed breakdown of monkeypox case records set by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Posted this month. Anyone can catch the virus, yes, but a CDC analysis shows that 94% of cases were among men who had recent or close sexual contact with another man. Furthermore, 54% of cases were among black and Latino Americans.
Early data from Georgia Department of Public Health and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services It shows a similar pattern: Either way, monkeypox overwhelmingly affects black men.

Thompson emphasized the importance of clarity and communication that shows exactly where the virus is.

A sign announces the monkeypox vaccination in Tropical Park by Miami-Dade County and Nomi Health, August 15, 2022.

“The purpose of the data is not just to process the numbers – but to ensure that the people most affected by monkeypox or any other disease entity get the services that are needed,” she said.

“The message that anyone can get monkeypox is spreading fear in the general public,” Thompson added. “It distracts from the messages we need to reach people at risk of getting monkeypox.”

This kind of confusion is not only distracting. She marginalized in a different way.

Jim Downs, a historian of epidemiology at Gettysburg College and author of “Diseases of Empire: How Colonialism, Slavery and War Transformed Medicine‘ echoed some of Thompson’s sentiments.

“Evidence suggests that MSM are at greater risk than any other population group,” he said. “So when we’re talking about targeting messages and, more importantly, targeting vaccines, we need to make sure that these efforts are intentionally targeting the people who are most at risk, as opposed to people who might be thinking, ‘Well, why not get vaccinated? It’s just a good idea.'”

It is worth emphasizing, experts say, that while black men seem to bear the majority of monkeypox cases, the reason is not because they are black.

“When we use race as a way to identify an important trait of a sick person, some people think that sweat is biologically active — there must be something in the brown skin that makes monkeypox more likely,” Volelov said. “But that’s not the case. What we’re looking at is the dynamic of who hangs out with who and where they socialize.”

Thompson also added a note of caution in the conversation.

“There isn’t any kind of monkey pox ethnicity,” she said. “It has to do with structural racism and the nature of societies and cultural practices.”

She said Georgia, for example, remains very segregated on the basis of race and gender.

“This means that black people are more likely to have black sexual partners as well,” Thompson explained. “And because they make up a smaller proportion of the population, there is a greater chance of contracting the virus.”

If there is a positive side, it is that it should be easier to contain and eradicate monkeypox because we have a more realistic sense of where the bulk of the infection is.

“AIDS activism wasn’t just saying the right thing”

The push by some to circulate messages about monkeypox is based on good intentions, and seeks to avoid the spread of A fierce anti-gay stigma was seen during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 1990s.

However, this approach strips the period of some complexity.

“I think there is a very well-intentioned attempt not to contribute to the stigma against LGBT people. A lot of people have a broad sense of how this works in the context of the early AIDS epidemic. I don’t think it’s necessarily an accurate understanding of how it happened, but there is an awareness of this happening and a sense that it does not. We should do it again,” Dan Royles, associate professor of history at Florida International University and author.To Make the Wounded Whole: The African American Fight Against HIV/AIDS‘, speaking to CNN, adding that all of this takes place in the context of a file The right’s assault on the rights of LGBT people.
The ambitions of AIDS activists, Rawls said, were broad. They have extended beyond the message world.
Members of ACT UP in Kennebunkport, Maine, protesting President George H.W. Bush's AIDS policy, September 1, 1991.

“The AIDS activism wasn’t just saying the right thing,” he explained. “It was about providing care to the people who need it.”

Consider some of the work of AIDS UP (the AIDS Alliance to Unleash the Power). On May 21, 1990, more than 1,000 demonstrators The National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Their goal: to urge the National Institutes of Health to correct what activists have seen as an icy pace for AIDS research and treatment efforts.
In other words, in the face of the government’s inadequate response to the pandemic, activists took matters into their own hands and fought for a more humane health system. (In particular , Current queer communities are doing something similaras they wrestle with it, Slow State Efforts to Combat Monkey Pox.)

This does not diminish the value of cautious and empathetic messages.

Thomson believed that there was a high degree of stigma associated with monkeypox. She said doctors are hearing from some patients that they are ashamed of contracting the virus.

Complicating matters further, she added, is the fact that there are caregivers who don’t want to see people with monkeypox – which means those infected with the virus have fewer places to get treatment.

Messages not to be shy are clearly very important, and partly influence the debate over whether monkeypox can be described as a sexually transmitted disease, As my CNN colleague Jacqueline Howard recently mentioned.
However, Royles’ deeper point is important. As we continue to encounter monkeypox, we must not lose sight of the fact that the main goal is Expand access to care.

“Our politics often boil down to debates about discourse and messages that are disconnected from the physical reality of people’s lives,” said Rawles. “Not unlike HIV and AIDS, monkeypox has major physical consequences in your body if you get it. It is so embodied that it is deeply ironic that so much of the conversation centers on discourse, which is disIt is embodied in many ways.”

Or like Joseph Osmondson, a clinical assistant professor of biology at New York University, Adequately summarized the difficulty of obtaining care“You can’t send a message away about an infectious disease. We need tests, treatments, and vaccines, none of which have come in time.”


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