Homophobic misinformation is making it harder to contain the spread of monkeypox

According to research conducted by the Center for Countering Digital Hat for MIT Technology Review, that work is being hardened by false, often homophobic principles that spread across all major social media platforms. These false claims are making it difficult to convince people that monkeypox can affect everyone, and that they can prevent people from reporting a potential infection.

Some of this misinformation overlaps with familiar epidemic conspiracy theories, suggesting that Bill Gates and “global elites” were attacked or developed in a lab. But most of them are outright homophobic and try to blame the outbreak on LGBTQ + communities. Some Twitter posts claim that the countries where LGBTQ + anti-rhetoric is illegal are the areas where the cases of monkeypox are most prevalent or call the virus “God’s revenge”. In a video shared on Twitter last month, Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green falsely claimed that “monkeypox is actually spread mostly by gay sex.”

Homophobic comments on articles about monkeypox that have been liked thousands of times on Facebook have been allowed to remain online, with a certain portion that received hundreds of unwelcome reactions being shared more than 40,000 times by telegram.

The YouTube video on the channel with 1.12 million subscribers contains false claims that monkeypox can be avoided by simply not going to gay orgasms, begging by mice or getting a prairie dog as a pet. It has been viewed more than 178,000 times. Another video, a channel with 294,000 subscribers, claims that women become infected with monkeypox through “contact with a man who may be in contact with another man”; It has been viewed almost 30,000 times. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube did not respond to requests for timely comment.

Such stigmas have real consequences – infected people who do not want to discuss their sex life are less likely to report their symptoms, making it difficult to detect new cases and effectively control the disease.

In fact, the virus can affect anyone, and they are unaware of people’s sexual identities or activities. Misinformation that monkeypox affects only men who have sex with men can convince people that they have a lower risk of contracting and spreading than they actually are, says Julie Bernard, a senior research associate at the University of East Anglia who works on modeling. . Public health hazards. “A lot of people think, ‘That doesn’t apply to me,'” he says.

None of this is helped by the fact that we are still not sure how monkeypox can be transmitted or how it is currently spreading. We know it is spread through close contact with an infected person or animal, but the WHO says it is also investigating reports of the virus being present in human semen, indicating that it may also be sexually transmitted, although sequencing The data have so far provided no evidence. That works like MonkeyPox STD. It is also not known which animal acts as a natural reservoir for monkeypox (the host that retains the virus in nature), although the WHO suspects it is a rat.

Although it is still unclear how and where the outbreak occurred, the WHO believes that outside of some countries in West and Central Africa where the virus is regularly found, it begins to spread from person to person, mainly in men who have sex with men, two raves. Then. In Spain and Belgium. While symptoms of common monkeypox include swelling of the lymph nodes and lesions in the face, hands and feet, many people affected by the most recent epidemic are exhibiting fewer lesions, developing on the hands, anus, mouth and so on. Genitals This difference is likely to be related to the nature of the contact.

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