More than two months after the ongoing global monkeypox outbreak began, corporate media outlets are finally addressing the fact that gay men are most at risk of contracting the virus.
Government agencies and healthcare authorities have already been prioritizing men who have sex with men in their monkeypox response. The U.S. allocated its first batch of vaccines to that group, and the World Health Organization (WHO) is recommending that gay men limit their number of partners to reduce risk. But some journalists were first preoccupied with addressing the “stigma” that could come from openly discussing that gay men are accountable for the vast majority of monkeypox cases.
The spread of monkeypox in the U.S. could represent the dawn of a new sexually transmitted disease, though some health officials say the virus that causes pimple-like bumps might yet be contained before it gets firmly established. https://t.co/SlsTY3pmCz
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 22, 2022
Outlets from Newsweek to the LA Times to Canada’s CTV published articles in May and June emphasizing the threat of the stigma against gay and bisexual men, not the threat from the actual virus itself. Headlines included “Iraqi Gay Community at Risk Over Monkeypox Stigma Stoked by Leaders,” “Monkeypox fears could stigmatize LGBTQ2S+ community, expert says,” and “As monkeypox cases grow, so do fears of a return of gay blame and stigma.”
The Wall Street Journal wrote that the monkeypox outbreak prompted an effort to avert gay stigma, and Grid stressed that monkeypox is “not a gay disease.” (RELATED: Area Man Shocked To Have Contracted Monkeypox After 20-Man Birthday Orgy)
Now, reality is setting in. WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday that 98% of cases confirmed to the agency are in gay men. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has consistently highlighted men who have sex with men as the highest risk group for contracting the virus.
The media is coming around as well. The Washington Post published a piece this week about the struggle to protect gay men from the virus, and CNN is objectively reporting on the increased risk posed to the gay and bisexual male community. The Guardian is asking why people aren’t being more clear about who is catching monkeypox.
Fortunately, the virus isn’t posing as much of a risk to the gay community as others have in the past, such as HIV/AIDS. There have been no confirmed deaths from the virus in the U.S. or Europe out of several thousand cases so far.