Canada urges gay, bisexual men to reduce their sexual partners to stem monkeypox. Advocates say focus should be on funding

From the Toronto Star article

The federal government is asking gay and bisexual men to reduce their number of sexual partners to curb the spread of monkeypox. But community health workers and advocates say that spread is being fuelled by the lack of government support, financial and otherwise, for those who are at risk.

“The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends practicing safer sex (and) having fewer sexual partners, particularly anonymous partners, even when they don’t have symptoms, can also reduce your risk of getting infected,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, at a news conference Wednesday. Tam also stressed the value of vaccination in thwarting the disease.

Dr. Darrell Tan, an infectious diseases physician at St. Michael’s Hospital, told the Star that he and his colleagues who are rushing to study the virus to improve public policy and patient care are noticing many patients struggling with the financial consequences of isolation.

The illness spread mostly after prolonged close contact, through respiratory droplets — from breathing, talking, coughing or sneezing — or through skin-to-skin contact, or contact with objects that have been used by someone with the virus.

Lamb said there needs to be compensation for lost wages and funding services that support patients through isolation. Tam stating that she is encouraging provinces and territories to implement supports is not enough, he said.

“Municipally, Toronto Public Health have been very good in trying to reach out to the community and take direction when needed. But when someone gets monkeypox and they aren’t able to isolate at home, what are they going to do?” he said.

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