CDC Applauds Gay Men For Being Less Promiscuous To Avoid Monkeypox

(Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
Font Size:

Top officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are commending America’s gay and bisexual men for limiting their number of sexual partners during the monkeypox outbreak.

On Friday, the CDC published a report outlining behavioral changes undertaken by gay and bisexual men in the United States to limit their risk of catching monkeypox. The agency found that about half of those men said they had reduced their number of sexual partners, one-time sexual encounters and dating app usage since the monkeypox outbreak began.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and Deputy White House Monkeypox Response Coordinator Dr. Demetre Daskalakis pointed to the change as a sign of “resilience” in the LGBT community when faced with a hardship like monkeypox.

“What this means is that the LGBTQAI+ people are doing things that are actually reducing their risk and it’s working,” Daskalakis said during a White House press briefing Friday. “And it speaks to the resilience and commitment of this community to addressing the challenge of monkeypox using every tool in their toolkit, as well as the need for clear, frank and community-responsive advice from the partnership of public health and community.”

The CDC report added that the results of its survey show that it’s essential to get tailored harm reduction messages to the communities most at risk, but that these messages must be delivered in a “respectful” way that does not “create stigma.” The CDC, unlike the World Health Organization (WHO), has not yet formally recommended that gay and bisexual men limit their number of sexual partners in order to reduce risk of exposure to monkeypox.

Health authorities initially pronounced that monkeypox was was spread primarily through close physical contact and was not a sexually transmitted infection. But evidence is continuing to emerge suggesting that the virus is primarily spread through sex between men, not simply close skin-to-skin contact. (RELATED: A Man Tested Positive For COVID-19, Monkeypox And HIV On The Same Day)

There have been more than 17,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the U.S. during the ongoing outbreak, according to CDC data. There have been no deaths in the U.S. and no reported deaths outside the countries where monkeypox was already endemic prior to this outbreak.