Since the first North American cases appeared in May, the monkeypox outbreak has differed from its spread in West and Central Africa, where it is now endemic. Here, it is overwhelmingly affecting gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. And it is reminding researchers and health leaders of the last pandemic that disproportionately affected the LGBTQ+ community: the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s.
Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said on Aug. 12 that more than 99 per cent of Canadian monkeypox cases the federal government had information on were among men. This is in line with a 16-country survey that found 98 per cent of infected people were gay or bisexual men or men who identify as straight yet occasionally sleep with other men.
Yet the virus is not sexually transmitted – there is no strong evidence that it spreads through semen. It is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, respiratory droplets and contaminated items such as bedding. Its concentration among men who have sex with men may be attributable to frequent sex with multiple partners, say public-health officials.
This article was written by Tameed Shafiq for the Globe and Mail. Please click HERE to read the full article.