Cases of so-called monkeypox are reported from different countries

In view of the cases of monkeypox in several countries, some of which affect gay men, the German Aidshilfe warns against false conclusions and stigmatization.

“Of course, there are superficial similarities between monkeypox and HIV back then – it’s another disease from Africa that also affects gay men. But the comparison doesn’t fit in many other respects,” said AIDS spokesman Holger Wicht of the German Press Agency.

Uncertainties in assessing the severity of the disease

In contrast to HIV, the virus that causes monkeypox was known longer in the 1980s, and the disease also healed on its own. “It is very important to us that panic and unreasonable fears do not arise here.” However, there are still uncertainties when assessing the severity of the disease: for example, how well the immunocompromised – this can include, for example, HIV-infected people who have not been treated for many years – cope with the disease.

After the experience with HIV, one fears the stigmatization of gay men and people from Africa, said Wicht. He also recalled the exclusions and finger pointing at the beginning of the corona pandemic, which were directed against people from Asia – and against people who were perceived as Asian.

Reason and enlightenment instead of fear

Wicht emphasized that, like other sexually transmitted infections, the aim was to approach the subject with reason and education instead of fear. The target group is addressed and informed in coordination with the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

In the past few days, some cases of the infectious disease, which is actually very rare there, have been detected in several western countries. The Charité infectiologist Leif Sander described monkeypox on Twitter as less pathogenic than smallpox, but it was “nevertheless a serious and in some cases fatal disease”. According to the RKI, sexual acts are one of the possible transmission routes.