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As gay, bisexual men in Manitoba become eligible for monkeypox vaccine, some fear persecution

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While some Manitoba men are eligible to be vaccinated against monkeypox this week, some advocates fear the stigma attached to the disease, especially for members of the LGBTQ+ community. I’m here.

On Friday, Manitoba Health announces that certain men who have sex with men can be vaccinated Any other listed, such as a recent diagnosis of a sexually transmitted disease, two or more sexual partners in the last 21 days, if you are a sex worker, or if you have recently had or are planning to have anonymous sex If you meet the criteria for one of

This standard has caused some members of the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters to fear further persecution.

Winnipeg-based drag performer Thomas Hannan says he worries about what might happen to his fellow queer men considering monkeypox has been designated a global emergency.

“If you’re someone who’s already prejudiced in our community, it’s easy to turn things like this into the LGBT community. Not just gays with sexual interactions,” he said in an interview Monday. Told.

A blond white man in a striped shirt stands outside in front of a tree.
Thomas Hanan identifies as a queer man. He worries that by releasing monkeypox to certain men who have sex with men, the state could stigmatize them. (Gary Solilac/CBC)

Appointments for all monkeypox vaccines made available by the state have been booked by Monday afternoon, a public health spokesperson said.

The head of a Winnipeg clinic that promoted monkeypox vaccination for men who have sex with men said it was important for people in the community to take precautions.

“We are concerned about the stigmatization of our message, but we don’t want to be in a situation where we are too worried about upsetting certain communities and not tell them what their risks are,” said an executive. Mike Payne, Director of the Nine Circles Health Center, which specializes in the care and treatment of patients with sexually transmitted infections.

“Certainly, it can be offensive to people, because I know there are concerns that people equate being gay with high-risk behavior. Of course, that’s true.” not.”

To date, Manitoba has reported no monkeypox cases, while other states and territories have reported 957 cases as of Friday. According to Public Health Canada.

public health message

Public health officials must balance their critical role of communicating messages and factual information, said an assistant professor of community health sciences and social services at the University of Manitoba.

Rusty Souleymanov, whose research focuses on LGBTQ+ health and sexually transmitted diseases, says government officials risk repeating the mistakes of the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s.

“Thinking about how monkeypox affects different populations can be counterproductive and sometimes unhelpful. people are less likely to seek help because of that stigma,” he said.

“On the other hand, you’re misleading people who may not be affected to believe they’re less vulnerable. That’s a huge problem.”

Rusty Souleymanov is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work at the University of Manitoba, researching LGBTQ+ issues. (Courtesy of Rusty Suleymanov)

Payne echoes that concern.

When it comes to HIV and AIDS, men who have sex with men are common across Canada, but not in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the two biggest indicators of HIV and AIDS.

Payne worries that people will focus more on the labels of gays, bisexuals, and men who have sex with men than lifestyles that may make them more susceptible to monkeypox.

“Some of these risk factors are not unique to GBMSM. [gay, bisexual, men who have sex with men] The population, and those individuals, should probably be vigilant and alert to monkeypox vaccine opportunities, even if they do not describe themselves as GBMSM.

“The more we can communicate that people will really pay attention to behavioral descriptions, the better.”

As of Monday afternoon, all available monkeypox vaccine appointments have been booked.

A state spokesperson says more information about future appointments is coming as soon as possible.

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2/ https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/manitoba-monkeypox-vaccine-stigmatization-1.6544794

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