More than 99% of Monkeypox Patients Identify as ‘Gay’ or Similar Amid ‘Pride Month’: U.K. Health Security Agency

151 of 152 Monkeypox patients interviewed identified as homosexual, British gov’t says.

QUICK FACTS:
  • The U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA) in partnership with the National Health Service (NHS) published data on Jun 10 analyzing the monkeypox outbreak in England.
  • The study explained how up to 8 June 2022, there were “336 laboratory confirmed cases of monkeypox in the UK” and that a “high proportion of cases are London residents, and the majority are male.” (Note: CDC says there are currently 524 cases in the UK.)
  • Where gender information was available, 311 (99% of 314) confirmed cases were identified as being male, with only three confirmed female cases.
  • One hundred and fifty-two of the 336 Monkeypox patients filled out “detailed questionnaires,” which revealed that “151 of the 152 men interviewed identified as gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM), or reported same sex contact, and the remaining individual declined to disclose this information.”
  • Around 85% of the world’s infections are in Europe. But two new monkeypox cases—both men—have been diagnosed in Massachusetts, bringing the total number in the state to six, the state’s Department of Public Health announced on Wednesday. Cases are popping up in Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
C.D.C. & W.H.O. WARN OF INCREASED RISK AMONG LGBT COMMUNITY:
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning that “early data suggest that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of cases” in their publication titled “U.S. Monkeypox Outbreak 2022: Situation Summary.”
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) published their “public health advice for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men” memo on May 25 also warning that Monkeypox cases “are being found in communities of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men” and that “[t]ransgender people and gender-diverse people may also be more vulnerable in the context of the current outbreak.”
  • WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the current “global outbreak of monkeypox is clearly unusual and concerning.”
BACKGROUND:
  • The CDC currently recognizes 2,027 monkeypox cases worldwide.
  • Monkeypox “cases are happening just as Pride events are underway in many cities. People are traveling and celebrating during a time that for many is the first summer since 2019 when they can finally gather free of COVID restrictions,” BuzzFeed reports. “Because close contact is one way the virus can spread, health experts are on alert, working quickly to get the word out about STIs to LGBTQ+ communities.”
  • “A disproportionate number of cases in the recent monkeypox outbreak have shown up among gay and bisexual men,” writes Jim Downs for The Atlantic. “Public-health officials need to work with gay-community health centers and other LGBTQ organizations to deliver information about monkeypox symptoms to doctors and their patients” and “public-health agencies should also press gay social-media apps and other online platforms to tell their users that men who have sex with men have been disproportionately infected by the virus,” urges Downs. “Public-health officials should activate those resources rather than tiptoeing around the issue. If gay men are at risk from the monkeypox outbreak, we need to be told that explicitly—instead of being told that the condition is rare and mostly happening in other parts of the world.”