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Are Queer Folks Prepared for the GOP to Use Monkeypox Against Us?

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QR code with a link to the New York State Department of Health page. I scanned the code and started reading. As of July 3, there were 93 confirmed cases in New York State. (As I write this, that number has changed to 120.) “Monkeypox spreads through close, physical contact between people.

Anyone could get it, however, certain populations are being affected by monkeypox more than others, including men who have sex with men.”I had heard two men behind me joking on the train earlier that morning, “Better not catch monkeypox this weekend.” Their nervous laughter was eerily similar to the jokes I overheard from commuters on the subway during the early days of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Certainly, gay and bi men were particularly singled out in similar jeering during the height of the AIDS epidemic.In an opinion essay for The New York Times, New York University microbiologist and LGBTQ+ activist Joseph Osmundson pleaded with the medical community to learn from the debacles of the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. “As the world confronts monkeypox, we must not make similar mistakes in disease surveillance and public communication,” he wrote. “We can’t help people if we don’t let them know what they’re up against.”An epidemiologist at Brown University, Jennifer Nuzzo, told NPR, “Infections have been largely found in men who have sex with men, who may typically seek care at a sexual health clinic.” (These LGBTQ+ clinics Nuzzo mentions exist primarily in large cities like New York and Los Angeles.) “Those providers may be particularly well-educated now about monkeypox and may be more willing to send a specimen out for testing,” Nuzzo said.

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