Monkeypox: Beware homophobic misinformation about this new virus – Angus Robertson MSP

With my youngest daughter currently in hospital with Covid, I am acutely aware how vigilant we must remain about the pandemic, especially as the population of Edinburgh rockets over the festival. But is it not only Covid that we should be looking out for.

Monday, 1st August 2022, 4:45 pm
People at risk of the monkeypox virus should discuss vaccination with their local health services (Picture: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
People at risk of the monkeypox virus should discuss vaccination with their local health services (Picture: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Monkeypox is now present in Scotland, and we need to take protective measures to stop its spread. The latest update last week told us over 60 people had so far been diagnosed, but with more unidentified cases assumed.

As the World Health Organisation outlines, Monkeypox is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus.

One is more likely to catch it if the virus is present within a community within whom one interacts more often.

It is for this reason that there are proportionally greater numbers of people in the LGBTQ+ community infected with the virus, as it would be for any other group in which the virus is encountered.

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Yet, the prevalence of Monkeypox in the LGBTQ+ community is leading to homophobic stereotyping and drawing of inappropriate parallels to the HIV/Aids pandemic. It is not, as some ill-informed commentators are suggesting, a sexually transmitted infection. To be clear, anyone can catch this virus.

There is good news. In Scotland, more vaccines are being obtained by the day and a vaccination scheme will be ramped up for those at more risk of exposure to the virus.

As with Covid, vaccination is the key to stopping the spread and I urge those more exposed to the virus to discuss vaccination with local health services.

Angus Robertson is the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central and Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Secretary