Home Latest News Deborah Birx praises 'extraordinary' LGBTQ community for preventing monkeypox from spreading

Deborah Birx praises ‘extraordinary’ LGBTQ community for preventing monkeypox from spreading

dr. Deborah Birx has praised the LGBTQ community for helping prevent the spread of monkeypox. The doctor and diplomat said: news week the community is “extremely responsible” and that the American public can rely on it to report new cases, despite the stigma surrounding the latest outbreak.

Monkeypox is currently spreading around the world, with current CDC data showing more than 2,100 cases in 37 countries. The US currently has 99 confirmed cases.

So far, most, but not all, cases of monekypox have been among men who have sex with men.

Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease. It is mainly transmitted through close, direct contact, which easily explains why it can spread among sexual partners. However, the reason for a higher proportion among men who have sex with men is as yet unclear and scientists are working to understand more.

Birx, who served as the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator in the Trump administration from 2020 to 2021, has extensive experience fighting pandemics. She was director of CDC’s Division of Global HIV/AIDS after beginning her career in 1985 researching HIV/AIDS vaccines for the Department of Defense.

When the HIV/AIDS epidemic began, stigma and the gay community were believed to have hampered the response to it.

Discussing the latest monkeypox outbreak, Birx said the LGBTQ community will be the “strongest alert network” to prevent the spread.

Deborah Birx
A photo shows Birx in April 2022. Birx is confident that the gay community will stop the spread of monkey pox.
John Lamparski/Getty

†[The LGBT community] are extraordinary at communicating the details effectively,” she said. [We need to say] for the American public, this is the first ring of introduction.”

Reporting the first cases of monkeypox as early as possible is key to preventing its spread. By identifying symptoms early and confirming cases through lab testing, individuals can be quarantined and made contacts. In this way, the spread can be reduced as quickly as possible.

“If you’re in close contact with a person, within that first ring, you’re potentially susceptible,” she said. “And I think we just want to be careful about how we frame these individuals. But I think people understand close personal contact. And really to say, this is not casual contact. Close and often intimate.”

Birx said that “every pandemic is political,” and that monkeypox is no different: “It doesn’t matter if it’s SICA or HIV, tuberculosis is not a virus. All these viruses stigmatize people and people are discriminated against.”

And the risk in that, she said, is that people are going to “work” themselves.

†[That’s] The most dangerous thing in the early stages of a pandemic is that people don’t come forward out of fear and fear of being stigmatized,” she said.

However, Birx said she believes the LGBTQ community will respond to and report cases of monkey pox better than any other group in the country.

“I trust our LGBT community like no other community to effectively communicate and alert that network to both the science and the data,” she said. “And I think what we should communicate to the American people is that infectious disease experts around the world have faith in the LGBT community, in understanding this virus, understanding its spread, and understand the importance of stopping the human-to-human spread.

“They are responsible, an extraordinary, responsible community, … [what we need] to make it clear to the American people is that this is a responsible unit, being critical by responding, because they were the first introduction, but it could have been any group.”

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