PHAC urges gay, bisexual men to practise safe sex as monkeypox spreads | CBC News


The Public Well being Company of Canada is urging homosexual and bisexual males to practise protected intercourse and restrict the variety of their sexual companions because it confronts the monkeypox outbreak.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public well being officer, advised a information briefing Wednesday that whereas the “international monkeypox outbreak is of significant concern,” public well being officers and governments have a “window of alternative to include the unfold.”

To date, Tam mentioned, the illness has been restricted virtually completely to males — 99 per cent of contaminated people in Canada are male and the median age is 36. Many of the circumstances reported in Canada have been amongst males who’ve intercourse with males, she mentioned. 

Tam mentioned the outbreak Canada is experiencing may be stopped by using methods that focus on the suitable teams of individuals.

These methods, she mentioned, may embrace a public consciousness marketing campaign that focuses on homosexual and bisexual males by group organizations, academic settings and relationship apps like Grindr.

“Right now, to decrease the general danger of getting contaminated and spreading the monkeypox virus, PHAC recommends practising safer intercourse,” Tam mentioned. “Having fewer sexual companions, notably nameless companions, even after they do not have signs, may also scale back your danger of getting contaminated.”

Tam mentioned little is understood about how monkeypox spreads, how folks can defend themselves and whether or not asymptomatic carriers can unfold it to others.

“Studying from the HIV pandemic is essential, which is why partaking with communities who had been impacted proper firstly to search out options will likely be our greatest weapon towards the unfold of this virus,” she mentioned.

Tam mentioned that studying extra concerning the illness, together with the best way to acknowledge its signs, is important within the combat towards its unfold. 

“We have to stay vigilant,” she mentioned. “Entrance line well being care professionals, in the event that they assume they’re seeing sufferers with rashes or others potential danger components, then get them examined.

“That is crucial factor — remaining vigilant on the entrance line.”

Praney Anand, government director of the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention, praised Tam for avoiding the stigmatization of homosexual males that occurred in the course of the early response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Her remarks, Anand mentioned, “are barely extra comforting than simply very prescriptively saying, ‘Oh, homosexual males ought to be careful, homosexual males shouldn’t do that.’

“They’ve tried to strike the suitable stability.”

A worldwide emergency

Final week, the chief of the World Well being Group mentioned the monkeypox outbreak is an “extraordinary” scenario that qualifies as a world emergency.

“We’ve got an outbreak that has unfold world wide quickly by new modes of transmission about which we perceive too little, and which meets the standards within the worldwide well being laws,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned.

A worldwide emergency is WHO’s highest stage of alert, however the designation doesn’t essentially imply a illness is especially transmissible or deadly.

A colourized transmission electron micrograph picture of monkeypox particles (teal) discovered inside an contaminated cell (brown) captured on the Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Illnesses Built-in Analysis Facility in Fort Detrick, Maryland. (Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Illnesses)

Tam mentioned there are 745 circumstances in Canada now — 346 circumstances in Quebec, 326 in Ontario, 58 in B.C., 12 in Alberta, two in Saskatchewan and one in Yukon. Greater than 16,000 circumstances have been reported worldwide; Tam mentioned she thinks that determine is decrease than the true variety of circumstances.

The variety of circumstances globally has elevated 48 per cent over the earlier week and the illness has now unfold to 75 international locations, PHAC mentioned.

We’ve got sufficient vaccines for now, says Tam

In Africa, the place the illness has existed for many years, monkeypox primarily spreads to folks from contaminated wild animals like rodents in restricted outbreaks that sometimes haven’t crossed borders. In Europe, North America and elsewhere, monkeypox is now spreading amongst individuals who don’t have any hyperlinks to wild animals and have not travelled to Africa lately.

PHAC officers mentioned that 70,000 doses of the Imvamune vaccine have been despatched to the provinces and about 27,000 have been administered.

Tam mentioned that Canada has a enough provide of the vaccine for now. She urged susceptible teams, resembling males who’ve intercourse with males, to get vaccinated to curb the unfold.

“We have to see a larger emphasis on supporting folks with monkeypox.”

Males who’ve intercourse with males are already lining as much as obtain the vaccine, mentioned Michael Kwag, a coverage director on the Group-Primarily based Analysis Centre, a Canadian non-profit targeted on well being within the LGBTQ group.

“We’re already seeing members of the group step as much as get the vaccine, to get extra knowledgeable, to coach their sexual companions concerning the dangers,” Kwag mentioned.

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