The World Health Organization on Wednesday recommended that gay and bisexual men limit their number of sexual partners to protect themselves from monkeypox and help slow transmission of the rapidly spreading virus.
The WHO’s monkeypox expert, Rosamund Lewis, said men who have sex with men are the group at the highest risk of infection right now. About 99% of cases are among men, and at least 95% of those patients are men who have sex with men, Lewis said.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it is crucial for public health authorities to engage communities of men who have sex with men to reduce transmission of the virus and take care of those infected, while protecting human rights by fighting stigma and discrimination.
“For men who have sex with men, this includes for the moment, reducing your number of sexual partners, reconsidering considering sex with new partners, and exchanging contact details with any new partners to enable follow up if needed,” Tedros said.
Tedros called on social media platforms, tech companies and news organizations to counter harmful information, which he warned will only fuel the outbreak.
“The stigma and discrimination can be as dangerous as any virus and can fuel the outbreak. As we have seen with Covid-19 misinformation, and this information can spread rapidly online,” the WHO chief said.
More than 18,000 monkeypox cases have now been reported across 78 nations, according to WHO data. About 10% of monkeypox patients have been hospitalized to manage pain from the disease. Five deaths have been reported in Africa, according to the WHO.