Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), recommended men on Wednesday to consider limiting their sexual partners for a while after the UN health agency reported a rising monkeypox outbreak among men who have sex with men.
“For men who have sex with men, this includes, for the moment, reducing your number of sexual partners, reconsidering sex with new partners and exchanging contact details with any new partners to enable follow-up, if needed,” he said at a briefing.
Ghebreyesus presented the COVID concentration data among males and stated that there are 98% of such instances, which is why WHO recommends that the government take efforts to limit the risk of transmission to other vulnerable populations, including as children, pregnant women, and people who are immunocompromised.
While Tedros stated that all governments must engage and empower communities of men who have sex with men to lower the danger of infection and transmission, he also advised states to protect human rights.
“The stigma and discrimination can be as dangerous as any virus,” he said.
According to Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, a CDC expert working on the monkeypox response, monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted illness, although persons who tested positive in the US had some amount of sexual activity. According to CNN, this can entail both penetrative encounters and oral sex.
The virus is mostly transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, but it can also be transferred through touching things such as sheets or towels that may have been used by someone with monkeypox, as well as through close face-to-face interactions such as kissing.
According to the CDC, experts are looking at whether the virus may be transferred by someone who is asymptomatic or through sperm, vaginal secretions, and faeces. The CDC also said that condoms alone cannot prevent the transmission of monkeypox.
However, the FDA continues to highlight the need of condoms in preventing other sexually transmitted illnesses.
Tedros’ remarks about minimising sex partners are among the most forceful yet on the subject. Other WHO statements have not been as severely labelled.
“Reducing your number of sexual partners may reduce your risk,” one of the WHO flyers reads as CNN reported.
“How can I protect myself?” another said adding, “To catch monkeypox, you need skin-to-skin contact, including during sex, with someone infectious or their contaminated belongings. To reduce the risk of contracting monkeypox: practice safer sex, keep your hands clean.”
“Remember that close physical contact, including sex, may increase your risk of exposure. Having multiple and frequent sexual contacts, including with anonymous partners, may put you more at risk of infection of monkeypox. To protect yourself practice safer sex,” a third WHO flyer advises.
Health officials in the US have also advised reducing sex partners but used softer language, according to CNN.
“Avoid skin-to-skin contact, including intimate contact, with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox. Other harm reduction actions include minimizing sexual activity with multiple or anonymous sexual partners,” CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky said in mid-July.