Learning from the AIDS Crisis to Combat Monkeypox

June 16, 2022

As the monkeypox outbreak spreads across the world, public health experts and decisionmakers look back to the peak of the AIDS crisis for guidance. The current outbreak has echoes of the AIDS crisis because monkeypox, much like HIV, is a virus that predominately affects men who have sex with men that originated from sub-Saharan Africa, thus echoing. To avoid repeating the disastrous response to AIDS, public health officials at the CDC are trying not to link monkeypox to the LGBTQ community.

According to Jason Mast, “The virus was ignored by the mainstream press for years except when cases were reported in women, children or heterosexual men. The first time the Reagan administration was asked about it, his press secretary jeered: ‘I don’t have it, do you?’ Funding levels remained a fraction, on a per death basis, of what they were for far smaller outbreaks like Legionnaire’s disease.  ‘By NIH budget calculations, the life of a gay man was worth about one quarter that of a member of the American Legion,’ the journalist Randy Shilts concluded  in ‘The Band Played On,’ a history of the AIDS crisis.”

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(Source: Stat News, June 8th, 2022)

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