July 27, 2022 -- Dr. Anthony Fauci remembers the anti-gay stigma that dominated mainstream response to the AIDS crisis in the 1980s.
And now he’s urging leaders to battle similar homophobia around the current monkeypox outbreak.
Most of the monkeypox cases in the United States have been between men who have sex with other men.
The country must “get rid of anything that even smacks a little bit of stigma” regarding the virus, Fauci told NPR’s “All Things Considered.”
Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, was a leader in the fight against HIV and AIDS in the 1980s.
“Concentrate on what the reality is,” said Fauci, who also serves as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “You fight the virus. You don’t stigmatize the people who are infected with the virus. You reach out to the community. You make it very easy for them to have access to testing, to treatment, and to vaccines, as opposed to making it a situation where people are afraid to come forward for those types of things.”
The World Health Organization recently declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern. It has spread to more than 70 countries, as officials consider declaring a health emergency in the U.S., The Washington Post reported.
So far in the United States, about 3,600 cases of monkeypox have been recorded during this current outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. There have been no reported deaths associated with it.