UNAIDS warns that some reports and commentary on the virus have used stigmatizing language that could harm public health.
The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has warned that stigmatizing language used in coverage of the monkeypox virus could endanger public health, citing some representations of Africans and LGBTI people that “reinforce homophobic and racist stereotypes and exacerbate stigma.”
So far, more than 100 confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox virus have been reported in almost 20 countries where the virus is not endemic. Most infections have been reported in Europe, but confirmed and suspected cases have been reported in the Middle East, North America, and Australia.
UNAIDS said “a significant proportion” of recent monkeypox cases have been identified among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.
But transmission is most likely through close physical contact with a monkeypox sufferer and could affect anyone, he added, saying some portrayals of Africans and LGBTI people “reinforce homophobic and racist stereotypes and exacerbate stigma.”
“Stigma and guilt undermine trust and the ability to respond effectively during outbreaks like this,” said UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Matthew Kavanagh.
“Experience shows that stigmatizing rhetoric can quickly defuse the evidence-based response by fueling cycles of fear, driving people away from health services, hampering efforts to identify cases, and encouraging ineffective punitive measures.”
UNAIDS warns that stigmatizing language in #chickenpox endangers public health.
“Stigma and guilt undermine trust and the ability to respond effectively during outbreaks like this,” he says. @MMKavanaghActing Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS
Read our statement 👇🏾
— UNAIDS (@UNAIDS) May 22, 2022
Monkeypox is it is usually a mild virus which can cause fever, headache, and a distinctive bumpy rash, but can also be serious. Symptoms usually go away after two to four weeks.
The disease is considered endemic in 11 African nations.
There are two main strains: the Congo strain, which is more serious, with up to 10 percent mortality, and the West African strain, which has a fatality rate of 1 percent of cases.
Kavanagh said that UNAIDS thanked the LGBTI community for leading the way in raising awareness of monkeypox and reiterated that the disease can affect anyone.
“This outbreak highlights the urgent need for leaders to strengthen pandemic prevention, including building stronger communities.
capacity and human rights infrastructure to support effective and non-stigmatizing responses to outbreaks,” added Kavanagh.
The WHO said Monday that monkeypox outbreaks in non-endemic countries can be contained and stop human-to-human transmission of the virus.
“We want to stop person-to-person transmission. We can do this in the non-endemic countries… This is a controllable situation,” WHO lead emerging diseases Maria Van Kerkhove said in a live interaction on the WHO health agency’s social media channels. UN.