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IDSA/HIVMA Statement on Monkeypox Outbreak: Stigma Has No Place in Public Health

The Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association echo the concern expressed by UNAIDS about the use of racist and homophobic language regarding the current monkeypox outbreak. As we have repeatedly learned with HIV, substance use disorders, COVID-19 and other diseases, stigmatizing language that casts blame on specific communities undermines disease response and discourages those who need treatment from seeking it.

In every disease investigation, experts must focus on and follow science. Globally, fewer than 100 cases of monkeypox have been reported in countries where monkeypox is not typically found. In the United States, there are currently nine confirmed cases of monkeypox. This is not a novel disease ― cases of monkeypox have been reported since 1970. Its symptoms are similar to those of smallpox but milder, and the strain detected in the U.S. is rarely fatal.

Monkeypox is spread through close physical contact, and no one community is biologically more at-risk than another.

Viruses do not recognize global borders or social networks. Stigma has no place in medicine or public health.

  • Daniel P. McQuillen, MD, FIDSA ― President, Infectious Diseases Society of America
  • Marwan Haddad, MD, MPH ― Chair, HIV Medicine Association

About the Infectious Diseases Society of America
IDSA is a leader on issues of importance to ID professionals, including education and training, policy and advocacy, setting guidelines for patient care and developing resources for clinical practice. It remains at the forefront of global health issues such as COVID-19, antimicrobial resistance and HIV/AIDS. Housed within IDSA is the HIV Medicine Association, which represents medical providers and researchers working on the front lines of HIV. More than 12,000 IDSA and HIVMA members work across the United States and in nearly 100 other countries on six different continents. For more information visit Follow IDSA on Facebook and Twitter.

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