“The last thing we want is to be associated with yet another virus, and especially when this isn’t sexually transmitted.”
This just takes us back to the ’80s with the height of the AIDS epidemic.
“For men who have sex with men, this includes, for the moment, reducing your number of sexual partners, reconsidering sex with new partners, and exchanging contact details with any new partners to enable follow-up if needed,” he told reporters.
What is monkeypox?
Cases in Australia are small (44), with the majority impacting returned international travellers and people aged 21-40. Symptoms are relatively mild, although five deaths have been reported overseas, and the disease is far less transmissible than COVID-19.
Some health experts and advocates from Australia’s gay community fear linking the disease so directly to men who have sex with men (MSM) could lead to undue stigma.
“It’s going to spread because of close contact, but it’s got nothing to do with who you’re having sex with.”
“On social media, people infected with monkeypox are reporting from their hospital bed about their experience and they are already getting comments like ‘Didn’t you learn your lesson from HIV?'”
“This has probably allowed us to identify the epidemic quite early.
What we are witnessing is the excellent health-seeking behaviour that men who have sex with men have.
Edwina Wright, Infectious diseases specialist
“We need to bring the public along with the science – just like we did with COVID – and explain to them carefully where we are with vaccine procurement etc.”
Is there a vaccine?
Two vaccines have been approved but only a limited amount has been acquired by Australia.
“This is one reason why LGBT community health organisations need to be heavily involved in designing and promoting campaigns that support gay and bisexual men to understand the benefits of vaccines, the importance of testing and the need to seek treatment.
– With AFP