Homophobia and ignorance in Mexico’s health system are causing a rise in Monkeypox

In Mexico’s health system, which is usually stigmatizing and discriminatory towards people from the LGBTTTI community, monkeypox infections have increased division, in addition to a lack of protocols to deal with cases and a lack of vaccines to combat them.

Even activists have expressed indignation at the singling out of sexual practices and sexual orientation when they have monkeypox, since they claim that the entire stigma of HIV is being repeated, as it was since the early 1980s.

According to a publication by Emeequis, an activist denounced that “there is absolutely no strategy on the part of the State, nor of the Ministry of Health, of the IMSS or of the ISSSTE of attention” and he recounted his experience when going to the IMSS to be treated after suspecting that he had contracted the disease.

“Honey, don’t worry, it’s chickenpox, you’ll see that it will soon go away.” That was the answer given by an IMSS nurse. She asked him to uncover his extremities to measure his blood pressure. It was at that moment that around 20 red papules were exposed on his left arm, revealing the contagion of monkeypox.

The nurse was silent so as not to alarm the others who were waiting for an appointment. She held onto his arm wearing plastic gloves and made him wait longer than usual to come in for inspection. The stigma of contagion was there. The activist reported that when he entered the office the doctor was waiting for him, when questioned about his sexual orientation, he released a “see” accompanied by a grimace, when he replied that he was homosexual.

That was the testimony of one of the hundreds of people who have probably already been through the same situation, patients who are stigmatized because of their sexual orientation. Until September of this year, the figures indicated that of the registered cases, 98% correspond to men and 2% to women.

According to official information, the distribution of infections is concentrated mainly in Mexico City with 1,601 confirmed cases with the highest incidence rate at the national level, followed by Jalisco with 301 cases; 272 in the State of Mexico, and 93 in Yucatan. However, it is a disease that, since the first contagion registered in July, has expanded to have a presence throughout the country.

During the month of October, Mexico recorded an increase of 56.3% in monkeypox confirmed cases or suspected cases under study.

In Mexico, despite keeping a record of possible and confirmed cases, the Ministry of Health has refused to purchase the monkeypox vaccine, as well as the implementation of massive doses in the most affected population, as commented by the activist “It’s a completely homophobic decision not to want to acquire vaccines because this epidemic is concentrated in men who have sex with other men like HIV”, he stated.

A few weeks ago, through an online call, the LGBT+ community invited them to join the protest at the offices of the National Center for Preventive Programs and Disease Control (CENAPRECE) in order to vaccinate the population against monkeypox.

With the cry “Vaccine yes, monkeypox no”, the director of VIHiveLibre, Alaín Pinzón demands urgent vaccination rights because today people have not been inoculated against this disease.

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