The term ‘MSM’ allows public health interventions to gloss over the social, political and cultural complexities of identity. But it’s not without its limitations.
Monkeypox is not considered an STI but is spreading among sexual partners. Adding sexual health strategies to the public health response is helpful, but there is a danger of stigmatizing MPXV.
Engaging in open and honest dialogue with the public to increase understanding of health inequities has never been more important.
As monkeypox vaccination programs roll out and health authorities work to reduce the spread of the virus, progress is lagging on renaming it.
Some of the sexual moralising we saw with HIV is still with us. That makes it harder for men who have sex with men to come forward for vaccines and testing.
While the majority of monkeypox cases thus far have been recorded among men who have sex with men, everyone is still at risk of contracting the disease.
How it spreads and how to protect yourself.
Most cases in the current global outbreak are occurring among men who have sex with men. So how can this group and others who are at risk protect themselves?
This finding suggests public health efforts will have to address the treatment barriers these men face – like poverty or homophobia – to meet the nation’s goal of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030.
Stigma and criminalisation of same-sex relationships makes it difficult for transgender women and men who have sex with men to seek preventive services. This compounds their risk for HIV infection.
The HIV epidemic is far from over and it’s not time to disengage, says International Aids Society President Linda-Gail Bekker.
In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa men who have sex with men encounter stigma and prejudice when accessing health services.
South Africa’s data rollout of its pre-exposure prophylaxis shows that there is a relatively slow, but increasing, uptake. However, more needs to be done to target young women.
Trials have shown that rates of HIV infection are reduced if people not infected with HIV take anti-retrovirals - known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). But adherence to a daily dose is a problem.
Malawi and Tanzania have created programs to provide sexual and reproductive health services and HIV interventions. But men who have sex with men say it’s still difficult to access care.