Faced with the outbreak of monkeypox, the WHO on Wednesday advised the group most affected by the disease – men who have sex with men – to reduce the number of sexual partners. In Switzerland, the gay community is asking the Confederation to make the vaccine available.
The best way to protect yourself “is to reduce the risk of being exposed” to the disease, explained the director general of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during a press briefing in Geneva.
More than 18,000 cases of monkeypox have been detected worldwide since the beginning of May outside endemic areas in Africa. The disease has been reported in 78 countries so far and 70% of cases are concentrated in Europe, 25% in the Americas, said the boss of the WHO.
Already 251 confirmed cases in Switzerland
“For men who have sex with men, this also means, for the time being, reducing the number of your sexual partners and exchanging information with any new partners to be able to contact them” in the event of an appearance of symptoms, so they can self-isolate, added Dr. Ghebreyesus.
He triggered his organization’s highest level of alert on Saturday to try to control the disease. Since the end of May in Switzerland, 251 cases have been confirmed, the vast majority of them men who have sex with men.
While several countries already administer the vaccine, it is not yet available in Switzerland. Faced with the progression of monkeypox, the gay community in Switzerland is worried and asks the Confederation to act quickly.
Going abroad to get vaccinated
In Zurich, for example, a medical center for the LGBT+ community has been diagnosing 3 to 5 infections a day for several weeks. The center wants the authorities to make available the new generation vaccine against the classic form of smallpox, which is also used against monkeypox.
“A lot of our customers go to neighboring countries to get vaccinated, to Germany or France, and we think it shouldn’t be like that. Switzerland has a fantastic healthcare system, we should be able to offer this vaccine “, explains Benjamin Hampel, infectiologist and co-medical director of Checkpoint Zurich, in the 7:30 p.m.
>> Listen to the report of La Matinale on the vaccinodromes of Paris:
For Loïc Michaud, nurse in charge of the Checkpoint Geneva medical center interviewed at Forum, Switzerland “is becoming a country which isolates itself from those around us, and which cannot manage to vaccinate or answer the questions of its population ” .
For its part, the Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP) says it understands the uncertainties of the homosexual community. “The Confederation is currently evaluating the possibilities of centralized purchase of a vaccine against monkeypox,” she explains.
Do not stigmatize a specific community
Monkeypox is not, in the current state of knowledge, considered a sexually transmitted disease and anyone can contract it. Direct skin-to-skin contact but also infected sheets or clothing are vectors of transmission of the disease.
The WHO also strongly emphasizes the need to avoid any stigmatization of a specific community, which could lead its members to hide the disease, not seek treatment and continue to spread it.
“What I observe is that, in the case of Covid-19, the vaccine did not prevent transmission but it was quickly administered to stem the pandemic. So today, we are wondering if it We have to wait for this virus to change community and impose itself on the entire population to have a real awareness and for us to come to our aid”, declares Loïc Michaud at the microphone of Forum.
Indeed, as Dr. Ghebreyesus recalled: “it is important to emphasize that vaccination does not protect instantly against infection or disease and this can take several weeks”. Once vaccinated, it is therefore necessary to continue to take precautions.
>> The full interview with Loïc Michaud:
TV Subject: Severinne Ambrus