Monkeypox: LGBTQI+ associations ask to expand access to the vaccine for men who have homosexual relationships

Monkeypox: LGBTQI+ associations ask to expand access to the vaccine for men who have homosexual relationships

The spread of monkeypox, particularly among men who have sex with men, is of concern to LGBTQ+ associations. They ask the government to extend preventive vaccination to all men who have sex with other men, but also to sex workers. These populations represent the majority of infected people, although cases have also been detected in immunocompromised and some kids We must be able to offer pre-exposure vaccination, before coming into contact with the Franck Barbier, director of courses and programs at Aides.

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The High Health Authority (HAS) was intervened on Monday, July 4 to issue an opinion on this issue. At the moment, the HAS only recommends vaccination of contact cases, particularly healthcare professionals, if possible within four days of exposure to the virus. “It is far from enough, that is what we have been saying for 40 years for AIDS, for two years for Covid”Marc-Antoine Bartoli, coordinator of Act-up Paris, a historic association fighting AIDS, lets himself go.

There is an explosion of cases, lack of information, lack of prevention, lack of doses”, warns the activist. More than 6,000 cases have been recorded worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) tally as of July 6. The number of infected people increased by more than 50% between June 22 and 30. The WHO will reconvene its Emergency Committee to judge the seriousness of the health crisis. The situation will spiral out of control in the coming days or even weeks if nothing is done.”underlines Marc-Antoine Bartoli who says in anger” against the French health authorities.

As with the vaccine against Covid-19, this preventive vaccination would allow “a reduction in disease severity and a reduction in transmissions”explains Franck Barbier. There is not yet a specific vaccine against monkeypox, it is a smallpox vaccine that is injected. The UK already recommends vaccinating all men who have sex with multiple men. In the United States, more than 50,000 doses of vaccine have been distributed in especially affected areas since the end of June.

The Observatory for Transparency in Medicines Policies (OTMEeds) wonders about the reasons for this delay in switching on in France, the number of doses available and the location of stocks. “This silence is particularly worrying, because during the first wave of the Covid-19 crisis, the executive had been led in April 2020 to lie about the interest in the mask and screening. so as not to have to admit publicly that stocks had been squandered”points out OTMeds.

For greater efficiency, LGBTQ+ associations want these vaccines to be available outside of hospitals. We must try to vaccinate in community sexual health centers, in the CeGIDD [Centres gratuits d’information, de dépistage, et de diagnostic par les virus de l’immunodéficience humaine, des hépatites virales et des infections sexuellement transmissible]because they are structures on the ground that know the exposed populations and their way of life”explains Erwann Le Hô, coordinator of the LGBTQIA+ Center of Côte-d’Azur and vice president of the regional coordination committee for the fight against HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

This is all the more important as monkeypox symptoms (fever, severe headache, muscle aches, back pain, rash, injuries, etc.) can be mistaken for other STIs. “Therefore, patients will go where they usually go in case of an STI”that is, the CeGIDD or community sexual health centers, stresses Franck Barbier of Sida.

Pending the expansion of vaccination, associations and public health authorities call for vigilance. It is necessary to monitor the appearance of symptoms, isolate yourself and consult a doctor in case of contamination. Erwann Le Hô even recommends avoiding multiple sexual partners for a while.

The associations ask the health authorities to address a population, in this case men who have sex with men and sex workers, but they also want to avoid any stigmatization. When you stigmatize someone because they are sick, you separate them from society and that does not encourage treatment or enter a circuit of prevention”, says Erwann Le Ho. According to the coordinator of the LGBTQIA+ Center of the Côte d’Azur, the first serious cases of monkeypox roamed from place to place and faced some pretty strong stigma and homophobia. A face with dark marks beginning to appear reminds us of the early hours, the dark hours of AIDS in France.”

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