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WHO urges men who have sex with men to reduce sexual contact

Tedros Adhanom has called on “men who have sex with men” to reduce their number of partners, sex and exposure to the virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) held a new meeting on Wednesday the 27th to announce measures to combat the global outbreak of (monkey) pox, which the organization declared a “global health emergency” last week. Among the recommendations, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom called for “sex with men” to reduce the number of partners, sex and exposure to the virus.

The most recent WHO report states that monkeypox has already spread to 78 countries and has more than 18,000 reported cases, the majority (98%) of which “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 are 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 reduce the risk of exposure. For men who have sex with men, this currently includes reducing the number of sexual partners, reviewing sexual relationships with new partners and sharing contact details with partners so that follow-up can be done if necessary.”

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

“The focus of all countries should 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 protect human rights and dignity,” said the Director-General, noting: that “stigma and discrimination can be as dangerous as any virus and fuel outbreaks.”

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

Vaccination


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During the conference, Adhanom stressed that the WHO continues to recommend against mass vaccination against monkeypox and that the few doses available should be directed to people who have been in contact with sick people or people at high risk, such as health care professionals. the laboratory. staff and people with multiple sexual partners.

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

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

“However, we still do not have scientific knowledge about the effectiveness against monkeys or how many doses will be required,” emphasized the Director General of the WHO. He also called on countries that have already started immunization to “collect and share information” on the work of immunizers. “While vaccines can be an important tool, surveillance, diagnosis and risk reduction remain key to preventing infection and stopping outbreaks.”


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