‘Horrifying’: Gay Men Face Health Crisis With Echoes of the Past

0

Monkeypox has sparked frustration and fear among gay and bisexual men in New York who remember mistakes and discrimination in the early years of the AIDS crisis.

July 28, 2022Updated at 2:59 PM ET

It was happy hour at a Harlem gay bar, the 4West Lounge, and the after-work crowd had come for rum punch and to see RuPaul’s Drag Race.

But instead, the men sat on stools and talked about the rapidly spreading monkeypox virus: their struggles to snag a coveted vaccination appointment in a city where demand for vaccines far outstrips supply; slow government rollout of vaccines and treatments; and their confusion about how the disease spreads and how to stay safe.

“It feels like survival of the fittest, with all the pandemic waves and now monkeypox and all these vaccination issues,” said James Ogden, 31, who secured a vaccination appointment after weeks of navigating the city’s flawed online registration process.

Kelvin Ehigie, 32, the bartender, agreed. Asked about the future, he said, “I don’t feel safe.”

For gay and bisexual men in New York, the summer was marked by similar conversations, such as monkeypox cases rising among men who have sex with men.

Fear of the virus is widespread, which mainly spreads through close physical contact, causing excruciating lesions and other symptoms that can lead to hospitalization. There is fear of isolation and possible stigma of infection as those who contract monkeypox are forced to stay at home for weeks. And some fear the vaccine itself, echoing the hesitancy and distrust that hampered the coronavirus response.

Many are also angry at the delays and fumbling in government efforts to contain the disease, including delayed vaccines and mixed messages about how the virus is spreading and how people should protect themselves.

And some fear monkeypox could become a political weapon that could be used against gay and transgender people, whose rights have come under increasing fire from Republicans in recent months.

Last week, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency after it spread from parts of Africa, where it is endemic, to dozens of countries and infected tens of thousands of people around the world over the course of three months. As of Thursday, there were more than 3,000 confirmed cases in the United States and 1,148 in New York, but experts say cases are undercounted.

Mr Ehigie received the first two-dose shot after a referral from his therapist but feared the city might never give him a second.

And while he said everyone understands how H.I.V. widespread, monkeypox still felt like a mystery to him and many others. “Being in New York, especially,” he said, “where everyone’s in close contact with everyone else all the time, is scary.”

Almost all cases outside of Africa involved men who had sex with men. In New York, just 1.4 percent of monkeypox patients self-identified as straight, while the rest self-identified as gay or bisexual or refused to say so, according to the city’s data.

The disease is rarely fatal, and no deaths have been reported outside of Africa.

But the combination of government failure and a virus that has hitherto mostly affected gay and bisexual men has drawn comparisons to the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

What to Know About the Monkeypox Virus

What to Know About the Monkeypox Virus

What is monkey pox? Monkeypox is a virus similar to smallpox, but the symptoms are less severe. It was discovered in 1958 after outbreaks occurred in monkeys kept for research. The virus has been found mostly in parts of central and west Africa, but in recent weeks it has spread to dozens of countries and infected tens of thousands of people, mostly men who have sex with men. On July 23, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency.

I’m afraid I might have monkeypox. What should I do? There is no way to test for monkeypox if you only have flu-like symptoms. But if you start noticing red lesions, you should contact an emergency center or your GP, who can order a monkeypox test. Isolate at home as soon as you develop symptoms and wear quality masks if you need to come into contact with others to receive medical care.

What is the treatment for monkeypox? If you do get sick, treating monkeypox generally involves treating the symptoms. Tecovirimat, an antiviral drug also known as TPOXX, can occasionally be used in severe cases. The Jynneos vaccine, which protects against smallpox and monkeypox, can also help relieve symptoms, even when taken after exposure.

I live in New York. Can I get the vaccine? Adult men who have sex with men and have had multiple sex partners in the past 14 days are eligible for a vaccination in New York City and close contact with infected individuals. Eligible individuals with diseases that suppress the immune system or have a history of dermatitis or eczema are also urged to be vaccinated. People can book an appointment through this website.

These years have been marked by acts of homophobia that have become ingrained in the minds of many gay Americans. The White House press secretary joked about AIDS at a press conference in 1982. Churches refused to provide burials for the dead. And President Ronald Reagan did not make a public speech about the epidemic until 1987, by which time about 23,000 Americans had died from the disease.

Disagreements within the New York City Department of Health over how to communicate the risks of the disease became public knowledge last week. Some epidemiologists have argued that officials should be more explicit in advising men who have sex with men to reduce the number of their partners or even consider short-term abstinence. (The W.H.O. director-general made a similar recommendation this week, including that men should reconsider having “sex with new partners,” according to STAT News.)

A spokeswoman for the department said messages advising men to avoid sex in particular could stigmatize gay and bisexual men and repeat past mistakes.

That story was on the mind (and on many banners) at a protest last week in Manhattan organized by activist groups like ACT UP, which formed in 1987 in response to government inaction on HIV/AIDS.

“I’m sad that we have to be here,” said Erik Bottcher, a councilor whose ward includes Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, neighborhoods hard hit by the outbreak.

“We’ve been forced to do this for so long, we’ve been forced to fight for our own health care when we’ve been let down by the government,” he said. “Shame on the government for letting us down again.”

Nearby, protesters carried signs comparing President Biden to Mr. Reagan.

Jon Catlin, 29, a graduate student, said he knows several people with monkeypox in New York and many more in Berlin, where he lives part-time to do research. He studies the development of the concept of catastrophe in German thinking and “whose suffering is considered a crisis”.

“Because it happens to queer people,” Mr. Catlin said, the government has been slow to treat monkeypox as a real crisis, waiting to release doses of vaccine until cases had grown exponentially.

“AIDS wasn’t initially treated as a crisis either,” he added, before citing a homophobic proverb of the time. “The joke about the ’80s is, ‘The right people died.'”

But as much as the protesters wanted to fight what they described as indifference, many were concerned that increased attention could bring hostility from straight people.

At the Manhattan rally, Jewish Queer Youth clinical director, Mordechai Levovitz, warned the crowd of about 100 that the L.G.B.T.Q. Community could become a scapegoat in the event of a larger and more widespread monkeypox outbreak.

“You know what’s going to happen,” he called into a microphone. “In a few months, kids with monkeypox will be on the cover of every magazine, and they’ll haunt us.”

That was a concern shared by some of the men in the 4West Lounge.

Chavis Aaron, 33, the bar manager, said the public focus on gay and bisexual men made him uncomfortable. He knew two gay people with the disease and understood the statistics of who the outbreak affected most, but still thought, “This is really everyone’s problem,” he said.

“The situation is still quite foggy and crazy,” he added. “We get information from Instagram and the news and everyone says something different.”

Some people improvise various methods to protect themselves against an illness that can last a month, but their methods can be dangerous and deeply unscientific.

“Most of my friends don’t have sex or they’re just really picky,” said Mr. Ehigie, the bartender. He also knows men who are generally against vaccines “because they think the vaccines have a political agenda or have bad side effects”.

Others, he said, have adopted a potentially dangerous approach — in which they wait a few days after sex to see if a rash breaks out before resuming sexual activity — which he thought they were adopting had after reading the wrong things online.

Two years of pandemic isolation has left people hungry for human connection. So far there has been little appetite for the L.G.B.T.Q. community to cancel events.

Some events have made small concessions to monkeypox, including the Pines Party, a large annual gathering on Fire Island in July that urged partygoers to get vaccinated and not to attend if they felt unwell.

However, the outbreak has led to the cancellation of other events in the city, including several regular sex parties that are less well known but riskier than dance parties.

Smaller bars like the 4West Lounge have been quieter lately. Some of that likely had to do with the hot weather or a clientele partying too hard during Pride Month in June, staff said.

But part of that is also the result of the outbreak, they said. Mr Aaron said he remembered a few regular customers who stopped coming as much after monkeypox case numbers started to rise in July.

“After Covid, a lot of people have PTSD,” he said. “They’d rather not go out than take the risk.”

How do you avoid getting monkeypox?

How do you avoid getting monkeypox?

Avoid intimate and skin-to-skin contact with a person who has a rash resembling monkeypox. Try not to touch bedding, clothing, or other materials that a person with monkeypox may have touched. Wash hands frequently with soap and water.

What happens if you get monkeypox? Early symptoms of monkeypox can include a fever, headache, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes, but a rash can be the first symptom. Rash lesions start out flat, become raised, fill with clear fluid (blisters), and then become pustules (filled with pus). A person with monkeypox may have many lesions or just a few.

Where is monkeypox most common?

Monkeypox is most common in Central and West Africa. But in May 2022, health authorities began reporting an outbreak of the virus in several regions outside of Africa.

How common is monkeypox in the US?

A misleading case count. On the surface, the monkeypox outbreak in the US doesn’t look that bad, especially compared to other countries. Since the beginning of the international epidemic in May, 201 cases of monkeypox have been recorded in the United States. By contrast, the UK has nearly 800 cases.

What does monkeypox do to humans?

A rash that can look like pimples or blisters and appears on the face, mouth, and other parts of the body such as the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus. The rash goes through various stages before completely healing. The illness usually lasts 2-4 weeks.

What countries have monkeypox?

As of 15 June 2022, 724 confirmed cases of monkeypox have been reported from 13 non-EU/EEA countries: United Kingdom (470), Canada (112), United States (72), Switzerland (20), Australia (13), United Arab Emirates (13), Argentina (5), Ghana (5), Mexico (5), Israel (4), Brazil (3), Morocco (1) and Venezuela (1).

What is the cure for monkeypox?

There are no treatments available that specifically target the monkeypox virus. Because the smallpox and monkeypox viruses are similar, however, as with vaccination, antiviral smallpox treatments can be effective in treating monkeypox.

How did monkeypox spread?

Touching objects (like clothing or bedding) that previously touched the infectious rash or bodily fluids is another way of spreading monkeypox. It’s also possible for people to get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal, or by eating meat or using products from an infected animal.

How is monkeypox transferred?

Monkeypox does not spread easily between humans. Human-to-human transmission occurs through close contact with infectious material from skin lesions of an infected person, through respiratory droplets during prolonged direct contact, and through pathogens.

How did monkeypox get to humans?

It’s also possible for people to get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal, or by preparing or eating meat or products from an infected animal. Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms begin until the rash has completely healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed.

Can monkeypox be treated?

There are no treatments available that specifically target the monkeypox virus. Because the smallpox and monkeypox viruses are similar, however, as with vaccination, antiviral smallpox treatments can be effective in treating monkeypox.

How do monkeypox start?

Monkeypox is spread when you come into contact with an animal or person infected with the virus. Animal-to-human transmission occurs through broken skin, e.g. from bites or scratches, or from direct contact with blood, body fluids, or smallpox lesions (wounds) from an infected animal.

How do you protect against monkeypox?

Avoid handling clothing, sheets, blankets, or other materials that have come in contact with an infected animal or person. Isolate people with monkeypox from healthy people. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after any contact with an infected person or animal. Avoid animals that can transmit the virus.

Does smallpox vaccination protect against monkeypox?

Vaccines that use vaccinia virus to prevent smallpox are likely to be effective against monkeypox (see Vaccine Efficacy below).

What vaccine protects against monkeypox?

JYNNEOS vaccine is manufactured by Bavarian Nordic and approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the prevention of smallpox and monkeypox.

How can you prevent the spread of monkeypox?

monkey pox

  • Avoid close physical contact with sick people.
  • Do not kiss, hug, or share eating utensils or cups with others.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth.

What should I do if I think I have monkeypox?

If you have, or think you have, monkeypox, you are contagious – so do what you can to prevent the disease from spreading. Isolate if you can, do not have sex while you recover, and do not attend parties or large gatherings where close contact will occur.

When did monkey pox start?

When did monkey pox start?

Outbreaks. Human monkeypox was first identified in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in a 9-month-old boy in a region where smallpox had been eliminated in 1968.

How long did monkeypox last? Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms begin until the rash has completely healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness usually lasts 2-4 weeks.

Where did the first case of monkey pox in humans record in 1970?

Human monkeypox was first identified in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in a 9-month-old boy in a region where smallpox had been eliminated in 1968.

How did monkeypox get to humans?

It’s also possible for people to get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal, or by preparing or eating meat or products from an infected animal. Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms begin until the rash has completely healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed.

Where is monkey pox from?

Monkeypox was first identified in 1958 and occurs mainly in Central and West African countries. Historically, monkeypox cases in the United States have been rare and mostly related to international travel or the importation of animals.

How was monkey pox discovered?

epidemiology. Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when monkeys kept for research developed outbreaks of a smallpox-like disease.

Where was the first monkeypox case?

Monkeypox is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus of the Orthopoxvirus genus and is related to smallpox. The first human case was identified in 1970, and historically it has mainly been found on the African continent, except for cases related to travel or imported animals.

Where did the monkey pox originate?

Monkeypox was first identified as a distinct disease in laboratory monkeys in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1958. Several animal species are suspected of acting as natural reservoirs of the virus.

When did monkey pox start?

The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970. Before the 2022 outbreak, monkeypox was reported in humans in several central and west African countries.

Where is monkey pox from?

Monkeypox was first identified in 1958 and occurs mainly in Central and West African countries. Historically, monkeypox cases in the United States have been rare and mostly related to international travel or the importation of animals.

Why do they call it monkey pox?

Monkeypox got its name because it was first detected in laboratory monkeys in 1958 when there were two outbreaks of the disease in monkey colonies. The first human case of monkeypox was identified in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Where was the first monkeypox case?

Monkeypox is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus of the Orthopoxvirus genus and is related to smallpox. The first human case was identified in 1970, and historically it has mainly been found on the African continent, except for cases related to travel or imported animals.

When did monkey pox first appear?

Monkeypox has been largely overlooked by the western world since it was first identified in a monkey colony in Copenhagen in 1958. A contagious smallpox virus that causes fever, chills and skin rashes, the disease is endemic or regionally common in ten African countries.

When did monkey pox start?

The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970. Before the 2022 outbreak, monkeypox was reported in humans in several central and west African countries.

Where is monkey pox from?

Monkeypox was first identified in 1958 and occurs mainly in Central and West African countries. Historically, monkeypox cases in the United States have been rare and mostly related to international travel or the importation of animals.

How many cases of monkey pox are there?

The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that the worldwide outbreak of monkeypox has grown to more than 6,000 cases, 80% of them in European countries. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said today that infections had been detected in 58 countries. Our world in data lists 7,075 confirmed cases worldwide.

When was the first case of monkeypox in the United States?

Since the first reported case of monkeypox in the United States on May 18, HHS has shared public health information about the virus with patients and healthcare providers, provided access to vaccines and treatments, and significantly increased supply and availability of testing.

Is there a cure for monkeypox?

Is there a cure for monkeypox?

The final result. Monkeypox is a virus that causes disease in humans and animals. Common symptoms of monkeypox include fever and skin lesions. There is no cure for monkeypox, but some antiviral medications can be effective in treating the disease.

Can you survive monkeypox? Infections with the type of monkeypox virus identified in this outbreak – the West African type – are rarely fatal. Over 99% of people who get this form of the disease are likely to survive.

Is there any cure for monkeypox?

There are no treatments available that specifically target the monkeypox virus. However, because the smallpox and monkeypox viruses are similar, smallpox treatments can be effective in treating monkeypox.

Does monkeypox cause death?

Is monkeypox deadly? The less severe West African group is causing the current global outbreak (2022). To date, no one has died from this outbreak. But monkeypox can lead to other problems (complications) such as pneumonia and infections in the brain (encephalitis) or eyes, which can be fatal.

Can you recover from monkeypox?

Most people recover from monkeypox within two to four weeks. Antiviral medications are available for people who could develop a serious illness from monkeypox. Talk to a healthcare provider if you have an underlying condition that you think puts you at increased risk for serious illness.

How long is monkeypox contagious?

You can transmit monkeypox to others starting a day before the rash appears. You are contagious for up to 21 days after your first symptoms or until your lesions scab over and you have no other symptoms.

How many cases of monkeypox are in 2022?

How many cases of monkeypox are in 2022?

The development (incubation) of the disease after exposure is one to two weeks. Nationwide – as of July 22, 2022 – 2,891 cases have been confirmed with no reported deaths.

How many cases of monkeypox are there? Recent data from the CDC shows that there have been 4,639 cases of monkeypox virus among US residents this year through July 27. Regularly updated case counts are available on the CDC’s website: 2022 U.S. Map and Case Count.

How do you get monkeypox 2022?

The monkeypox virus spreads primarily through close, intimate contact with someone who has monkeypox. There are steps you can take to prevent monkeypox and lower your risk during sex.

How is monkeypox transmitted from person to person?

It can be transmitted from person to person through close contact. Someone who has it can pass it on to you through: Contact with bodily fluids such as blood or semen. Contact with monkeypox lesions on their skin (including in their nose and mouth)

What caused the monkeypox outbreak 2022?

Most cases reported to date have been identified by sexual health services or other health services in primary or secondary health care settings and have primarily, but not exclusively, involved men who have sex with men. The WHO is working with health authorities to prevent the disease from spreading further.

How many confirmed cases of monkeypox in the US?

In the United States, the first case of monkeypox was identified in the current outbreak on May 18, 2022. As of July 26, 3,591 cases have been reported in 46 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. diagnosed (see Figure 1); this corresponds to 19% of 19,188 confirmed cases worldwide.

How long has monkeypox been around in the us?

Monkeypox was discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a smallpox-like disease occurred in research monkey colonies. Despite being called “monkeypox,” the source of the disease remains unknown.

Is monkeypox in the US 2022?

July 25, 2022 – Two children in the United States have been diagnosed with monkeypox, federal health officials say. One case is an infant who is a California resident and the other is an infant who is not a US resident but was tested in Washington, DC, CDC officials told reporters Friday.

How many cases of monkeypox are there in the US 2022?

2022 Monkeypox outbreak in the United States
index caseBoston, Mass
date of arrivalMay 18, 2022 (2 months, 1 week and 1 day ago)
dateJuly 25, 2022
Confirmed Cases3,487

Is monkeypox in the US 2022?

July 25, 2022 – Two children in the United States have been diagnosed with monkeypox, federal health officials say. One case is an infant who is a California resident and the other is an infant who is not a US resident but was tested in Washington, DC, CDC officials told reporters Friday.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.