Monkeypox: Posters spreading misinformation about homosexuality surfaces, action sought

monkeypox posters
The unattributed posters that were seen in Alappuzha on Sunday. The images have been blurred due to the 'misinformation' it carries.

Members of the LGBTQIA+ community in Kerala have appealed to Health Minister Veena George demanding stringent action against those responsible after unattributed posters linking homosexuality with monkeypox surfaced in Alappuzha.

According to transgender rights activist Sreemayi Sree, efforts are afoot to intimate the health minister of the "misinformation" that has been put out to the public.

Sreemayi rightfully pointed out how the World Health Organisation (WHO) had warned against stigmatising the viral zoonotic disease. "Stigmatising people because of a disease is never ok. Anyone can get or pass on monkeypox, regardless of their sexuality,” said WHO in a statement that was published in bold letters on its website.

Sreemayi, who took to Facebook appealing for the Health Minister's immediate intervention, told Onmanorama that such efforts to spread misinformation, however isolated, should be nipped in the bud.

"Treat diseases as diseases, don't use it as an excuse to target people based on their sexuality," Sreemayi said, adding that such 'unnamed' posters could send out a wrong message and it shouldn't be taken lightly.

"Earlier, they used to attack us with the sticks of morality and culture. Now they are using diseases because there is a stigma associated with communicable diseases.

"We know how HIV patients were treated by society in the past and we have seen how COVID was perceived initially.

"The World Health Organisation has clearly said that monkeypox spreads through contact, which means it can also spread while having sex from a symptomatic person, but that applies to everyone. It is important to understand that monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease," Sreemayi said.

Kerala had reported India's first case on July 14 in a 35-year-old man who had returned from the UAE.

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