Expert gives warning on use of language regarding monkeypox

Infectious Disease expert Dr Nikkiah Forbes is warning people not to stigmatise gays and bisexuals in relation to monkeypox, noting the disease could affect anyone in close contact with an infected person.

Her comments came after the World Health Organisation declared the outbreak of monkeypox to be a global public health emergency, signalling that the international community must take steps to mitigate the spread of the disease.

Forbes, the director of the HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Programme in the country, said: “We have to keep in mind that how is this spread.

“This is spread by close contact and most certainly with sexual activity there’s close contact and I want to say clearly that this is very important and expert agencies such as the WHO and CDC have warned against stigmatising at-risk communities, including gay and bisexual men and at-risk communities because that can cause stigma and discrimination and it can undermine the public health response to the outbreak, much like what happened in the HIV response which you know is very important to me. 

“I think it’s very, very important that we use language that is scientifically based while keeping in mind what has been reported and uphold human dignity and human rights so that we can control this outbreak and very important not to use stigmatizing language is my recommendation.”



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