Mpox: “the stigma is as dangerous as the virus”. Historical, Social, Ethical Issues and Future forthcoming


public health
history of hygiene
ethical issues


Objectives: the authors aim to show the possibility of stigma that hits affected Mpox patients because of the statements of society involving their sexual sphere.
Design: 23 July 2022, the Director-General of the WHO, Thedos Ghebreyesus, issued an international public health alert regarding cases of Mpox (formerly known as Monkeypox). Although Mpox has been present in an endemic form for years in some Central African countries, the spread of the disease outside Africa has aroused considerable alarm in populations already sorely afflicted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Aside from the data, what is striking is that Mpox, like other infectious diseases, seems to have become a problem only when it began to cross the borders of Africa. Some may justify this attitude simply by ascribing it to the fear of an epidemic outside the areas where the virus is endemic. However, in such cases, and especially after the Covid-19 experience, other factors are also involved: lack of information and, even more so, the human capacity to utilise diseases to reinforce arguments against the tendencies, inclinations, orientations and behaviours of some social groups. Such information, albeit basically correct, is nevertheless incomplete. Moreover, it tends to prompt a view of this disease that may give rise to highly dangerous and embarrassing situations, engendering the risk of repeating the error that was made about AIDS. Mpox is the latest in a series of epidemics that have struck humanity in the space of very few years.
Setting and partecipants: People and social groups who, due to sexual orientations and behaviours, are considered to be at risk of being infected with Mpox.
Main outcomes measures: - outcomes directly related to mental health of Mpox patients: anxiety, fear and depression, emotional difficulties, feelings of loneliness and isolation; - well-being outcomes of people with Mpox; - c. risk of not being able to reduce the epidemic among those groups don’t feel as though they belong to LGBTQ and therefore do not implement any kind of prevention.
Results: Limit the contagion from Mpox through specific health and communication campaigns. Remove any stigma related to Mpox disease.
Conclusions: In the face of this disease, it is absolutely essential that we do not needlessly isolate groups of people by feeding stigma, prejudice and discrimination, which can have devastating effects not only on individuals but also on society as a whole. As the full inclusion of persons of LGBTQ community is probably still a long way off, we must surely wonder when we will be ready enough to achieve the important objective of equality for all.



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