Monkeypox: WHO urges ‘men who have sex with men’ to reduce sexual contact

THE World Health Organization (WHO) held a new meeting on Wednesday afternoon, 27th, to announce control measures against the global outbreak of monkey pox (monkeypox), declared last week as a “global health emergency” by the entity. Among the recommendations, the director-general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom asked for “men who have sex with men” decrease the number of partners, sexual relations and exposure to the virus.

The most recent WHO report points out that monkeypox has already spread to 78 countries and has more than 18,000 reported cases, of which the majority (98%) are among “men who have sex with men”, a group that includes gay men. , bisexuals and others who have sex with men.

“This is an outbreak that can be stopped if countries and regions become informed, take the risk seriously and take the necessary steps to prevent transmission and protect vulnerable groups,” Adhanom said. “The best way to do this is to decrease the risk of exposures. For men who have sex with men, this currently includes decreasing the number of sexual partners, reconsidering sex with new partners, and exchanging partner contact details to enable follow-up if necessary.”

About 70% of the cases reported to the WHO are in Europe, while 25% of them are in the Americas region. Although the disease has resulted in only five deaths so far, nearly 2,000 patients have had to be hospitalized because of pain after the infection, Adhanom said.

“The focus for all countries must be on engaging and empowering communities of men who have sex with men to reduce the risk of infection and ongoing transmission, provide care for those infected and uphold human rights and dignity,” said the director- general, stating that “stigma and discrimination can be as dangerous as any virus and fuel the outbreak” of the disease.

Adhanom also warned that despite focusing for the moment on the community of “men who have sex with men”, anyone exposed could contract monkeypox. “That’s why the WHO recommends that countries also take care of other vulnerable groups, such as children, pregnant women and immunocompromised people.”

Vaccination

During the conference, Adhanom stressed that the WHO continues not to recommend mass vaccination against monkeypox and that the few doses available should be directed at people who have had contact with patients with the disease or at high risk of exposure, such as health professionals, laboratory staff and people with multiple sexual partners.

“It is important to emphasize that vaccination will not give immediate immunity against infection or disease, and it can take weeks,” he said. “This means that those vaccinated must continue to take steps to protect themselves by avoiding close contact, including sexual contact, with others who have or are at risk of having monkeypox.”

In recent days, the vaccine MVA-BNdeveloped to address the smallpox (smallpox), has been approved for use in Canada, the European Union and the United States for use against monkeypox. Two other immunizers, LC 16 and ACAM 2000, are also being considered for use against the disease.

“However, we still lack the scientific knowledge about the effectiveness against monkeypox or how many doses would be necessary”, stressed the director-general of the WHO. He also urged countries that have already started vaccination to “collect and share information” on the performance of immunizers. “While vaccines can be an important tool, surveillance, diagnosis and risk reduction remain central to preventing transmission and stopping the outbreak of cases.”

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