LGBTQ community concerned by stigma from monkeypox
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Monkeypox continues to spread in the U.S. and a vast majority of cases, right now are among gay and bisexual men.
However, the CDC says the virus can affect anyone, and it is spreading to others as well. Those in the LGBTQ community are at greater risk but local advocates say they have felt stigma against the community because of the disease.
Local advocates worry that will lead to misinformation and do not want to see a repeat of what happened with AIDS during the 1980′s.
Brett Hogan the director of Positive Directions, a free HIV and STD testing center in downtown Wichita, says a lot of his clientele are part of the LGBTQ community.
“They’re not your enemy. Educate yourself so you don’t get it,” Hogan said.
He has seen a lot of misinformation regarding the disease in the community and is trying to educate.
“It’s another thing that can be put on a community that is unnecessary. It never stays in one population and that is the best the biggest concern that really drives me because a lot of people say ‘oh, I’m not gay I won’t get it,’” said Hogan.
Equality Kansas’s Executive Director, Thomas Witt, says even though this disease has not significantly affected Kansas, it has affected the state’s LGBTQ community.
“When we have faced in modern public health crisis there are segments of society who look for somebody to blame. It is endless. It is predictable. It’s tiresome,” Witt said.
His concerns are that misinformation will only harm the community rather than fix the problem.
“LGBTQ people can end up getting hurt, facing even more discrimination. They will be more marginalized and none of that is how you solve a public health crisis. You overcome a public health crisis by treatments and vaccinations. Being mad at everybody and blaming others for a public health issue is not going to solve the problem,” said Witt.
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