U.N. Denounces ‘Homophobic and Racist’ Monkeypox Coverage


The United Nations’ Aids agency (UNAIDS) on Monday denounced some reporting on the monkeypox virus as racist and homophobic, warning irresponsible language was undermining the response to the outbreak as it gathers pace across the globe.

UNAIDS said “a significant proportion” of recent monkeypox cases have been identified among “gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men” leading to some portrayals of Africans and LGBTI people gravely “reinforce homophobic and racist stereotypes and exacerbate stigma.”

The UNAIDS deputy executive director, Matthew Kavanagh, advised such talk should cease forthwith. He said:

Stigma and blame undermine trust and capacity to respond effectively during outbreaks like this one.

Experience shows that stigmatising rhetoric can quickly disable evidence-based response by stoking cycles of fear, driving people away from health services, impeding efforts to identify cases and encouraging ineffective, punitive measures.

The agency further urged all media outlets covering Monkeypox to follow updates provided by the World Health Organization (W.H.O) while acknowledging the situation is “evolving and the surveillance expanding, it is expected that more monkeypox cases will be identified.”


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