A new report finds that Black and Latino communities are disproportionately affected by monkeypox, particularly gay men of color.
Findings from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a government agency dedicated to public health, reveal that the majority of monkeypox patients in the US are Black and Latino, accounting for approximately 58 percent of all cases. This is despite the fact that these groups only make up about 30 percent of the total US population.
Although the data does not indicate how many Black and Latino patients had had same-sex sexual contact prior to transmission, the CDC report reveals that 99 percent of all male-identified monkeypox patients are men who have sex with men (MSM). These findings are consistent with a study from July 21, New England Journal of Medicine indicating that 98 percent of people who have contracted monkeypox are gay, bisexual, or homosexual men.
The CDC researchers did not comment on the reasons for the higher incidence of monkeypox among Black and Latino people, but it is likely related to compound forms of marginalization of people living at the intersection of multiple minority identities. These groups, for example, also face a higher risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.
In a statement accompanying last month’s findings, the report’s authors conclude that more must be done to prevent vulnerable groups from coming into contact with the monkeypox virus. “Public health efforts must prioritize gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, who are currently disproportionately affected, for prevention and testing, while addressing equity, minimizing stigma, and maintaining surveillance of transmission in other populations,” the researchers said.
The CDC report, which was last updated on July 28, is based on available data from 1,383 cases in 45 US states, not including Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. The District of Columbia has the highest rate of monkeypox per capita, while New York and California have the most cases overall.
Monkeypox has continued to spread both in the US and around the world in the days since the CDC findings were released. Currently, the CDC reports that there are 9,492 confirmed cases in the US, with Wyoming being the only state that has yet to record a single transmission of monkeypox. Globally, there have been 31,800 reports of monkeypox in 89 countries, including 82 countries that have historically had no recorded cases of monkeypox virus.
These numbers include 957 cases in Canada, the eighth most among the nations included in the CDC report. (The Public Health Agency of Canada reports a slightly higher number: 1,008, with 90 percent of all cases in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.)
Although Canada has yet to declare the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency, the Biden administration in the US officially did so on August 4 amid criticism for its alleged slow response to the crisis. . As the New York Times The US reportedly has only 1.1 million injections of the Jynneos vaccine, and the US Food and Drug Administration has proposed issuing smaller doses of vaccine to maximize the current supply. Under the proposal, people would receive a fifth of the typical dose.
To achieve complete vaccination, the CDC generally recommends that people receive two injections of the monkeypox vaccine given 28 days apart.
Health authorities have urged queer men to limit sexual contact to prevent the spread of the virus, but these recommendations have been criticized by some LGBTQ2S+ advocates. Monkeypox is not classified as a sexually transmitted infection and can be spread through skin-to-skin contact, contaminated surfaces, and the mucus or respiratory secretions of people who have already contracted the virus.
according to a BuzzFeed News reported, forms of contact such as hugging and shaking hands are less likely to result in transmission.
While officials have warned that monkeypox is “not a gay disease,” the virus’s association with marginalized communities has already begun to fuel anti-LGBTQ2S+ stigma. Police in Washington, DC, are investigating an attack on two men as a hate crime after they were reportedly assaulted by a group of teenagers who called them an anti-gay slur and referred to the smallpox outbreak. bow.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top medical adviser to President Joe Biden, recently warned of the costs of scapegoating gay men for the crisis.
“You fight the virus,” he said. NPR in an interview last month. “People who are infected with the virus are not stigmatized. You reach out to the community. It makes it very easy for them to have access to testing and treatment and vaccinations, instead of making it a situation where people are scared to come forward for that kind of thing.”
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