This past Friday, quickly after announcing New York City’s first pair of deaths in relation to Monkeypox, officials for the health department of the city expressed that, from this point forward, it will only be labeling and referencing the virus as MPV.
Monkeypox, which is known to largely transmit via sexual intercourse between men, made its way to the U.S. just a few months ago and has quickly infected close to 30,000 Americans, resulting in a total of six deaths as of Friday, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To go along with the expression of concern for the virus itself, the Health Department of NYC also claimed that it is highly worried about the “inaccurate and stigmatizing label” which comes with the name of this virus.
“Moving forward, the Health Department will refer to the virus as MPV. The previous name is an inaccurate and stigmatizing label for a virus that is primarily affecting a community that has already suffered a long history of bigotry,” stated the city’s health department.
As reported by NYC Health, making reference to the virus under the name monkeypox could end up stopping people from finding necessary treatment if they would contract the virus because of the social “stigma.” The health department stated that it also called on the World Health Organization to officially change the name of the virus.
NYC Health also called on “one of any sexual orientation or gender identity who is at risk” to go and recieve both doses of the vaccine for monkeypox from any vaccination site run by the city.
While monkeypox is not exclusively spread via sexual contact, the disease has been shown to infect gay men at a much high rate than any other demographic. The most recent data coming from New York City shows that those who claim to identify as LGBTQ currently make up 2,384 (64%) of the city’s 3,703 monkeypox cases, and men make up 3,466 (94%) of the cases.
As reported by the CDC, monkeypox can end up spreading via any skin-to-skin contact that often takes place in various actions such as hugging, kissing, extended face-to-face contact, and sexual intercourse. Symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, cough, sore throat, and nasal congestion. The disease also normally results in a severe and painful rash and an outbreak of blisters.