To slow the spread of monkeypox, the World Health Organization (WHO) has advised gay men to limit their sexual partners for the prevention of monkeypox.
A total of five people have died due to monkeypox around the world in more than 18,800 cases. The WHO has declared the outbreak a global health emergency, with about 10% of cases requiring hospital treatment for monkeypox.
In a briefing, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he believed the spread could be stopped if countries and communities were informed about the risks and that steps were taken to stop transmission and protect vulnerable groups.
The advice includes reducing the number of sexual partners for men, reconsidering sex with new partners, and exchanging contact details with anyone who has sex with men “for the time being”.
While monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, many gay men who have contracted it have been sexually active.
According to Dr. Tedros, “Countries must engage and empower communities of men who have sex with men so that infection rates can be reduced and onward transmission prevented, and human rights and dignity can be protected.”
A stigma and discrimination outbreak can be just as harmful as a virus.
So far, 98% of cases of monkeypox have occurred in men who have had sex with other men. However, anyone exposed to monkeypox can contract it.
Those at high risk of exposure, such as health workers, some laboratory workers, and those with multiple sexual partners, should be targeted and vaccinated against monkeypox.
In addition, the WHO has urged countries to reduce the risk of transmission of monkeypox to children, pregnant women, and immunocompromised individuals.