What is Monkeypox and how is it affecting the LGBTQ population?
By Ida Hood
Monkeypox is a disease that is caused by infection from someone who may have the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox is spread through close contact with infectious sores, bodily fluids, or what is known as contact materials that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
According to the CDC, you can take steps to prevent from getting monkeypox and lowering your risk of exposure by first talking to your healthcare provider if concerns come up for you. There are currently vaccinations available if you have been exposed or if you are considered high risk to exposures.
If you start to experience flu like symptoms and or notice a rash consult your doctor for further evaluation. So, outside of getting vaccinated there are other methods you can also take for prevention. You can minimize your exposure by making sure to properly wash your hands before consuming foods and after using the restroom. Also, before a large gathering if you feel sick, please try to stay home and if you begin feeling sick during a gathering try to leave immediately to reduce everyone’s exposure. If you know you will be around a large crowd of people, consider wearing clothes that cover your full body to reduce skin to skin contact. When attending gym spaces consider avoiding saunas and enclosed spaces where minimal clothes are required as this may increase the likelihood of spreading monkeypox to other individuals. As you are using gym equipment and gym attire often, it is important to make sure you consider cleaning and disinfecting your home if you feel you may have been exposed. Most people do not consider the importance of disinfecting their laundry to prevent and eliminate contact from spreading inside the home.
Also, keep in mind if you have any concerns at your workplace your employers must comply with OSHA standards and guidelines to ensure your safety. They are to provide you with the proper equipment to complete the task with the least risk. Lastly, you can help in reducing stigmas and marginalization within the LGBTQ community by speaking up. If you see someone who is not respecting someone’s boundaries for their health you can share some of this information with them Health Equity Guiding Principles for Inclusive Communication. Remember that no matter what you are your #1 health advocate!
CDC. 2022. Reducing stigma in communication and community engagement. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/reducing-stigma.html.